Re-root the Routine

It’s funny how sometimes something very simple can end up having a significant effect.  Let’s take, for example, a comment that Amanda K left on a recent post:

First, I would be remiss if I didn’t start off by saying that a) I am always struck by how supportive and kind the readers and commenters are on this blog; and b) I think I have the best readers/commenters that anyone could possibly have; and c) I really do appreciate all of you so much!  Your comments help me to see things differently and get more perspective, make me feel much less alone when I’m dealing with something difficult, make me smile, and teach me a great deal.  I am a very, very lucky blogger.

Second, I read Amanda’s comment and initially thought, ‘Well, hmm, I can’t really stop running because I’m going to start training for the Marine Corps marathon soon…but maybe I should take a blogging break?  Or postpone training for a couple weeks?’  But then I read it again, and the phrase ‘changing up your routine can work wonders’ really jumped out at me.  Is it possible that all I really need is a bit of an uprooting where my routine is concerned?  Since there’s no question that the internet can’t answer, I took to the webs and found a helpful blog post on Yoga Journal in which the author notes a few signs that may suggest you need to change it up a bit:

1. Your practice feels more like a chore than a treat.

2. You feel more drained and exhausted after you practice than you did before.

3. You haven’t learned anything new, had an “ah-ha” moment, or felt challenged recently.

4. You’re focusing more on the clothes, props, people, environment, or teacher than your own breath and practice.

5. When someone asks you why you do this particular practice instead of something different, the only answer you can come up with is that it’s what you’ve always done.

Obviously these five items are yoga-focused, but I don’t think we need to think too far outside the box in order to generalize them a bit.  Lately running and blogging have felt like a bit of a chore, and I think it’s obvious that I’ve been feeling drained.  I have hit a bit of a rut, I haven’t been all that focused, and I’ve kind of lost my sense of purpose.  Time for a change in routine?  Signs seem to point to yes.

First order of business: start running in the morning.  I love running, but by the time I get home from work, I’m hungry and tired, it’s hot out, and I feel like I have 1,000 things to do on top of getting my run in.  In the morning, on the other hand, there’s nothing keeping me from running other than a warm bed.  And as much as I love my warm bed, I could definitely afford to spend less time there in order to make improvements elsewhere in my life.

Second: preparing a breakfast and lunch at night for the following day, and planning dinners ahead of time so that I don’t come home at night and immediately start obsessing about what we’re going to be eating (if I haven’t already been doing so).

Third: use yoga as a way to relax and get some time to myself rather than another form of exercise.  I am generally pretty good at looking to yoga for more than just a workout, but I do also lose my focus when it comes to the reasons why I’ve come to my mat.

I think that’s a good start, and I’m hoping that these changes will help to make a difference.  Are there any parts of your routine that you want to change?

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2 comments

  1. I agree with the routine and rut. I went through it back in February… I was planning to do a 10 mile race and decided to cut mileage and do a 10K the next month instead. It wasn’t a bad decision, I did great in the 10K and got some sanity back.

    Running, races, yoga, it will always be there. Sure, I missed that ten mile race, but they’ll have it again next year. Exercise, blogging, etc should be fun, not a chore. We’re not professional athletes or professional bloggers- no one’s paying or making us do this. Why do something you don’t have to do, if you’re not loving it… even at the time?

  2. I used to use yoga practice as exercise. But I’ve cut out all vinyasa/power/intense yoga for the time being. I’m sticking to more gentle forms for the relaxation and good stretch feelings. It’s helped me a lot, but I still sometimes feel compelled to want to slip back into more hardcore varieties, but for the time being I know that’s not right for me.

    And I got up early to run this morning… best decision ever. I have struggled motivating myself to get up early, but by the end of the day I really don’t want to run when it is so hot outside… this early morning run felt amazing. And I did it on trails with my pup so it felt more relaxed and peaceful. I just tracked the time I was out there instead of paying attention to pace & distance. (I did have my Garmin on me, but I changed the screen to only show time!) It was great!

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