All week, my workouts were bound to the treadmill. And frankly, it didn’t feel like it was going so well.
The treadmill is all about the numbers. The treadmill is artificial. Embracing the need for the treadmill is one thing. Remembering how to use it to my advantage is another. Most of the week was spent obsessing about the red flashing numbers on the treadmill. What was my pace? Was I at the correct incline? What was the time? Should I be going faster?
When outside, my workouts are much less structured. From time to time I have specific ways I’m supposed to run. Sometimes that means a track or interval workout and other times it means a tempo run based on effort or pace. But most of the time, my running is left as “easy” or “as you feel.” This gives me room to play, especially when I’m looking at scenery or deciding to run hard to that next fire hydrant or hold back on this hill while working steadier on the next.
I have to remember how to play on the treadmill. It’s possible after all. Move the incline up and down and keep the speed the same. Play with the speed based on time or distance or duration of a tune on the iPod or a commercial break on television. But it took me a week to remember that I could play on the treadmill. That it wasn’t “cheating.”
In fact, my experience of something starts in my mind before I even step out the door in the morning.
If I think playing around on the treadmill is cheating then my experience of it will be just that and I will feel like I had a terrible workout.
If I think of playing around on the treadmill as a way to get in a workout then my experience will be much happier and feel much more productive. While I haven’t the research to back it up, I’m pretty confident that I will judge how good a workout it was by how I felt about it at the start … even if I did the exact same time, pace and distance.
Life is a reflection of what we believe.
Sometimes, we cast our experience as something that happens out there, external to who we are. We see life as something done to us and our job is to either (a) mold life or (b) decide how we are going to react.
But what if our experience of life was something that happened because of what we already believed about life? What if we actually controlled our own experiences?
It’s deeper than just positive thinking. It’s more fundamental than just having hope that something good will come. It’s knowing that something good will come. It’s expecting the best-case scenario.
Maybe that’s what makes all the difference.