It looks like I'll be training for the rest of my life. I can't stop training. Ever.
By "training," I mean training for a race. I'll probably never win a race, but I need to keep races on my horizon. Here's why:
I started an extremely sedentary job four months ago. That job comes with an extremely sedentary commute. At the job we have a snack machine and a coke machine. Across the street from the job is a coffee shop that sells big chunky chocolate chip cookies.
If I weren't training for a race--the Worldwide Half--I know I would have gained 10 pounds by now. At least 10 pounds.
If I'm merely exercising because I want to be skinny and look good, the motivation ebbs as soon as life gets too busy. And when motivation ebbs, my cookie-monster tendencies take over. My eating habits go to pot. I make diets of bagels with cream cheese, cookies, and bread.
But I'm training for the Worldwide Half. Because I'm training for a race, I don't look at the exercise as my key to being thin or looking good. It's my key to increasing endurance, and yes, speed, so that I can run a good race. The "looking good" part of it is just a really nice benefit that comes with the territory.
When I'm in training, I lose all appetite for most junk foods. I have no desire for a soft drink (not that I ever drink them anyway). I've stayed away from the vending machines at work. I only visit the coffee/cookie place five days a week. (OK, so I only buy a couple of cookies a week. I'll never give up chocolate-chip cookies completely.)
And the rest of the time I eat things like fruit, salads, smoothies, lean meats, fish, nuts, whole-wheat carbs, and steamed and raw veggies. Good stuff. Because I'm training. Because all of the running, and the eating right, and the getting to bed on time, just all go with the territory.
If I weren't training for a race, I know I would never have gone on an energizing 5-mile tempo run last night. I was tired and not in the mood to run. If I weren't training for a race, I would never have stopped on my way home from work to squeeze in a 4-mile easy run. If I weren't training for a race, I wouldn't be setting my clock to wake up early tomorrow to get my 12 miles in before the crazy weekend begins.
Training is good. I plan to keep it up. I'm already thinking about my spring half-marathon. :)