This One Simple Strategy Will Trick You Into Exercising Longer

  |   Fitness, Health, Inspiration, Mindfulness, Self Improvement   |   No comment

Here’s how to use it to get fitter

It was Sunday morning, which meant I had a long run on the training schedule. 9–10 miles was what I had to tackle on this particular weekend. By 8 am, I had consumed my favorite pre-run breakfast of oatmeal, peanut butter, and fruit, and I was ready to head out the door.

I checked the weather. It was already 75 degrees out, with 95% humidity. It was definitely going to be a rough one. Nonetheless, I knew I had to get those miles in.

I took a minute to remind myself of my goals, and why I was doing all this in the first place. Then, I clicked my watch, and I was off.

The first few miles went by quickly, as they usually do. Still, by the third mile, I could tell that my breathing was already labored.

My legs felt heavy, and it was as though they were being dragged along with every step.

The usual fluidness I was accustomed to feeling when running was non-existent, and by the time I was five miles in, I wanted to quit.

How on Earth was I going to get through the second half of my workout? Luckily, I had a trick up my sleeve. It’s one that I’ve used many times without fail. And you can use it too. It will help you exercise longer, harder, and push past those negative thoughts. Here it is.

The first thing you have to do is clear your mind.

Free your mind of all those self doubts. Don’t think about the pain, or how much you want to quit, or how badly you’re hurting. In order for this strategy to work, you must go into it with a free and clear mind.

Then, you will repeat the following phrase to yourself:

“Just one more.”

Now, you will customize it to whatever exercise you are trying to get through. For example, if you’re running or cycling, you might say, “Just one more mile. That’s all I need to get through.”

If you’re lifting weights, it might be, “Just one more rep.” Or if you are swimming, “Just one more lap.”

I think you get the point — the key phrase here is just one more. But why does it work? Because it forces you to focus on the moment that you’re in, thus making the workout seem much less overwhelming.

For example, when I was in the middle of my long run, thinking about how I was only halfway, and still had another five miles to go, it seemed impossible that I would get through it.

But once I cleared my mind, and told myself just to run the mile I was in, easily made it one more mile.

Soon, I had hit six miles, and then seven. By that time, my mind was telling me that I only had two or three more miles to go. And that seemed like a piece of cake.

How you look at the workout truly does matter.

Think about your best workouts, races, competitions, etc. If you analyze them closely, you’ll probably realize that the times where you reached that new lifting personal best, or finally broke 20 minutes in the 5k, or ran 30 minutes straight for the first time, were the times when your mental game was strongest.

You will absolutely not be able to push your body to the limit without a strong mental game. So training it in practice is absolutely crucial. There are a number of great ways you can do this, some of which I’ve detailed here.

Believing you can do something is half the battle. It’s a hard fight, but once you conquer it, you will be able to reach new heights in your training.

No matter what your goal is, whether it be to get fitter, run longer, bike harder, or anything else, you can benefit from the strategy of focusing in on only the next few minutes of exercise.

So, the next time you find yourself struggling to get through a workout and all you want to do is give up, change your thoughts. You might just find yourself achieving more than you ever thought possible.

  • by Alyssa Atkinson
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