Tuesday, August 14, 2007

How exercise taught me patience

I noticed something interesting the other day. I was mentally checking my progress on my Augustahon exercise experiment, and I realized I was just a bit over a third done. And right then, I told myself I knew I could complete it.

How do I know this?

I visualized myself on my treadmill. The clock said 15:00 ... 5 minutes of warmup, plus 10 minutes of a 30 minute run. And at that point, I know I'm a third of the way done, and I can do the rest.

I play all kinds of numbers games with myself, all the time. It's part of being so mathematically inclined. But the 1/3-done game is relatively new, and it certainly came from running such a regimented schedule during the latter part of my C25K program and the runs in the weeks immediately following.

The logic is relatively simple. Imagine you are at home. You need to run somewhere and back. Well, you immediately split that run in half. You know if you ran to someplace, you can obviously run back (I'm not crazy like some of you, running distances we clearly invented cars to traverse ;) ). Now, imagine you are running to your new halfway point. You are 2/3 of the way there ... clearly, you can handle the final 1/3, right?

You're 1/3 of the way done with your run, but in your mind, you've done the hardest part. You know you can do the rest.

Somehow, this stupid math/visualization trick has found its way into my daily routine. A third has magically become this milestone measurement.

After all, the hardest part is done.

(Augustathon update: upper-body workout with a side-order of "walking", immediately upon arrival from work. 25 push-ups, 50 sit-ups, skipped the squats, 25 minutes of walking. Next time, I think I'll go for 30/60 ... or put the squats back in....)


Sean Lloyd said...

I often do the 1/2 mental math...So a 4 mile run becomes:

2 miles
1 mile
0.5 miles

I agree, it definitely helps.

Jank said...

Great job with augustathon.

I think the mental math is a side effect of being an engineer - I suffer from it as well; using splits from the iPod to see how close I will be to meeting time targets.