Coach Tip Tuesday: Mood follows action
Photo Description: A foot on a bicycle pedal in the “power position” - the position where the pedal is at “12 o’clock and that one needs to be in to get the bike moving.
Tuesdays are known for a lot of things (hello, tacos), but right now we’re going to focus on the Coach Tip aspect of Tuesdays. :)
This week’s tip is simple (at face value):
Mood follows action.
Raise your hand if you’ve used something along the lines of “I don’t feel like going for a run today” or “I’m not in the mood for a bike ride” or “I’m too tired to get in a swim” as a “reason” for not getting a workout done??
If every.single.one of you reading this didn’t raise your hand, you’re not being 100% truthful with yourselves.
At some point in all of our lives, we’ve all encountered a version of this. For most of you out there, you’ve encountered it multiple times in the last several months.
Here’s what I have learned over my many years in endurance sports:
Mood follows action.
...and that is why it is this week’s tip. Yes, indeed, you don’t need to feel good to get going. You need to get going, and then you’ll feel good. There have been exactly two times that I can recall that an athlete told me that movement or a workout made them feel worse than before they started the workout. TWO times - out of ALL of the hundreds of thousands (perhaps even millions at this point) of athlete interactions that I have had over the years.
I get it; this feels hard. But the things worth doing in life are rarely the easy things. The things that feel the best and mean the most over the long haul are almost always the hard things.
So, this week (and truly, in all the days to come), when you catch yourself using “I don’t feel like it” as a reason not to get moving, I challenge you to get moving and see if it doesn’t make you feel good.
I often recommend this: start for five minutes. Just five minutes. If you feel miserable, horrible, and the worst ever, you have full permission to stop after five minutes. However, chances are that you will NOT feel the worst ever after five minutes. The odds are actually that you will be feeling better than you did five minutes earlier, and that will help you keep going.
Now, this movement doesn’t have to be “sexy” - meaning that you don’t need to ride 100 miles, climb the equivalent of Mount Everest, or run an ultramarathon. Walking up and down the stairs in your apartment building, taking the dog for a stroll around the block, doing some lunges on your lunch break, or going for a swim with your grandkids are all forms of movement (the last time I checked, anyway ;) ). Just move your body, my friends - in any way that speaks to you. :)
Sir Isaac Newton nailed down the physical component of what I’m saying: An object at rest stays at rest. An object in motion stays in motion. Motion - aka movement - is a critical piece of our existence as human beings. Mood follows action for us.
So, do yourselves a favor. Get moving. You can thank me later. ;)