We live in the age of more. Many of us find ourselves stuck in the endless cycle of extracting every ounce of effort to reach our next goal.
For the past several months I’ve been training to run my first marathon, and this emphasis on more is not lost of me.
If I just run more miles and put in more time, I’ll reach my goal.
This was my mindset two years ago when I first attempted to train for the marathon. Sure, I spent lots of time running, but I had no clear plan of action or structure to my runs. Instead, I found myself mindlessly pounding the pavement for my entire lunch hour, thinking that that was the way to reach the finish line. Although I logged a lot of miles that way, I see now that it wasn’t the most effective way to train.
Now, I only take a 30-minute lunch break. Even though it’s half the amount of time I used to have, my workouts are more effective. I found that just because I spent a lot of time running didn’t always mean that I put in quality effort or that it yielded the results I was trying to achieve.
When I had an hour lunch break, I’d find reasons to lollygag or spend time “warming up” (scrolling through social media) because I knew I had an entire hour. Now that I’ve cut my break in half, I’m more likely to get in and get out because I know my time is limited. Thirty minutes isn’t a lot, so I’ve got to make it count. I dedicate my 30 minutes to doing a short speed workout on the treadmill or logging half my mileage for the day so that I’ll only have to run the other half after work.
Those short speed workouts I’ve been doing on my lunch break have already helped me through several shorter races. Think of the long-term fitness goals you can reach in just 30 focused minutes during your lunch break.
Schedule your workout during the time of day you feel most “in a slump.” For me, it’s around 2:00 p.m. I used to feel so sluggish and mentally “done” at this point in the workday. Scheduling your workout during your “slump” hour will help you mentally break up your day, and you may even find that you’re more focused once you return.
Other Benefits and Considerations
Enlist a Friend
If you find yourself unmotivated or easily distracting during solo workouts, set up a regular time with a coworker to make it more fun and to hold you accountable. This can be as simple as scheduling a once or twice-weekly walk with another coworker.
Check For Incentives and Discounts
Ask your employer if they offer employee incentives if you log and report your workouts or if they can offer a discount on a gym membership to a nearby gym that you can quickly and easily access during your lunch break.
Don’t Just Work Out, Train
I find it hard to workout just for the sake of working out. I have to be training for something to feel motivated. For example, the marathon is my current motivation, but your goal doesn’t have to be as big of a commitment as a marathon. Is there a 5K, triathlon or obstacle race that you’ve always wanted to do? Sign up for the event, circle the date on your calendar, and let it be the fire under your tush to get your workout in for the day.
Say “No” to Sedentary
If you work a desk job like I do, working out on your lunch break will give you a reason to get away your desk. It’s easy to sit the whole day away staring at the computer screen, but our bodies were created to be in motion. Getting those endorphins flowing will not only boost your mood but will help you break out of the sedentary lifestyle we’re so prone to.
Don’t underestimate the progress that can be made in 30 minutes during your lunch break. By using this time wisely you’ll be taking realistic, achievable steps toward a bigger end goal.