Friday, January 30, 2015


I don’t write Science Fridays anymore (but you can check out some running-related pieces I’ve written here), but it is Friday, so here’s some physics for you:

Inertia (n.): The resistance of any physical object to any change in its state of motion, including changes to its speed and direction. (Wikipedia)

Since I have been in a state of Perpetual Sitting on the Couch Eating Cookies, I’m finding it very hard to change my speed (faster than sitting pace) and direction (towards anywhere other than the couch). I blame physics.

When you’re in the middle of training, your constant moving towards your goal keeps you going. You’re up early, getting in your daily miles, eating your chia-topped oatmeal. Sure, you may dream of post-marathon luxuries of sleeping in and various indulgences, but no time for that now, you’ve got ten miles to do before work. Maybe you’ll switch it up with some flax-topped oatmeal today, but mostly things stay the same—you keep rolling. No excuses. Run, rinse, repeat. I love that routine. (And obviously I love oatmeal, too.)

But I also love the amazing wonderfulness of my warm, cozy bed on cold, dark mornings. I swear, every morning it somehow feels better than ever before. I better cherish this moment, this best ever comfy-ness. I’m never leaving. And obviously oatmeal cookies beat all other varieties of oatmeal. (But, if we're taking cookies, try these, which I just made this week and are not even remotely, possibly good for you, but completely delicious.*) Despite loving training, I can’t quite get out of my off-season state.

So yeah, inertia. It’s real.
RunnerTeal's First Law Of Motion:
An object in motion will stay in motion (left).
An object not in motion will bake cookies (right).
I’m trying to nudge myself in the right direction. Get a little momentum. Inertia can be changed by the application of external force. (Like this video designed to get bodies off couches and excited for Grandma’s Marathon.) It’s early yet; official marathon training won’t start for a few more weeks, but the first race on my schedule will be here before I know it.

But it’s hard. I said last week that I like marathon training because it rises in a slow crescendo to the peak race. You climb the mountain of training, then—when you finally make it to the top—you jump for joy, plant your little flag, scream “I did it! I did it!” But then you quickly slide down the other side.

You get to the bottom—full of cookies and beer and ensconced in warm, cozy sheets—and look up ahead. Another mountain to climb. Didn’t I just climb that mountain? Why am I back at the bottom?

That slide back down is important: your body—and mind—needs rest. Without a proper break you risk burnout and injury.

Still, it’s hard to look up at that mountain and see how far you’ve got to go. 

A couple weeks ago, I went for a “long” run with the GRC girls. I hadn’t been with them in a while, but everyone insisted we’d go slow. I didn’t wear a watch, so I have no idea our actual pace, but their “slow” felt like sprinting and I fell way back. (Full disclosure: I may have had too many indulgences at our team party the night before. But also—let’s be honest—I’m out of shape.) The next week I decided it might be nice to get some semblance of speed, so I did a 5 minutes on, 5 minutes off fartlek. Woof. Five minutes is an insufferably long time when you’re out of shape.

And this week? This week I skipped my run on Monday, because Hey, it’s Monday. I don’t have to go running every day this week. Then I skipped my run Tuesday, because… because nothing. Because inertia. I had no good mildly acceptable reason to skip my run. (I finished off the amazing cookies instead.)

The force required to push an immobile object up a mountain is immense. The good news is it's easier to climb the mountain when you've been there before and know your way. The bad news is you can’t climb the mountain from the couch or your warm, cozy bed.

Dream big,

*Or try these super easy mini-brownies for the Super Bowl!

No comments :

Post a Comment