During my timed 5K yesterday afternoon, I realized that it had been 6 weeks since I set my goal for the Turkey Trot. Well…7 actually, but our vacation week doesn’t count, as I did squat!
I think that for the majority of people setting a fitness goal, after about 2-3 weeks of minimal progress, frustration sets in. That first couple of weeks though, your body is getting used to something new; it is during that time that you are setting the stage for all the awesome future progress!
Unfortunately, many people fall off the wagon at this point because they feel like all of their hard work is not paying off. I’ve done it…you want to reach a certain goal, but when it’s still really hard after a couple of weeks, or the scale hasn’t budged, I get frustrated, spend an evening with a pizza and beer and decide, “eh…I’ll try again next week/month…or whenever.”
I’m here to tell you, and show you, that it really does take time…but that the time involved is completely worth it! Health care professionals and personal trainers alike will tell you, it takes 6 weeks to truly see any kind of lasting results. Your body’s job is to keep the Status Quo, to remain in balance, to stay the way it currently is. It’s called homeostasis, and it’s what keeps us alive. It regulates our body temperature, keeps out hormones in check, allows for proper water/mineral/vitamin absorption…among many other things. It’s also what makes the process of reaching fitness goals, frustrating at times.
You have to show your body that it needs to adapt. You can only do that by giving it a new normal, a new Status Quo…a new way to function on a regular basis. This. Takes. Time.
As far as my 5K goal is concerned, here’s what 6 weeks has done for me:
Weeks 1-3: Each one of these runs was a struggle. Keep in mind that I was also practicing yoga twice per week, and running two other days per week as well. The decreasing time was the only thing that kept me motivated.
Weeks 4-6: The timed run during week 4 was a disaster. We’d just gotten back from vacation, where I had pretty much forgotten about my fitness goal. It felt horrible. After that, I decided I needed to make some changes, if I wanted to continue to improve. You can see those changes, here. The last two weeks…amazing! I have felt great during the entire run, strong after it was over, with little to no soreness the next day. It is sooo motivating to see these results…and makes everyday healthy choices much more do-able! It’s easy to make a good choice over a bad one when I can actually see what the good choices are doing for me!
Now, is when the real changes will begin. My body is ready to change, ready to adapt to what I want it to become. I did have a pretty strong baseline fitness level when I began the 5K training, but it was in distance, not speed. I love seeing that I can train for speed as well…and I can’t wait to see what the next 6 weeks bring!
One of my favorite quotes is from Alanis Morissette. She says that when you invite a woman to be an athlete, to train her body for something new, you invite her to see her body completely differently. She begins to see her body as an instrument for herself, capable of strength, capable of anything…rather than as an ornament for others. It’s a beautiful thing.
Keep up the hard work…I promise, it’s worth it.