Training vs. working out

Today as I was out for my bike ride (in the sun, minimal wind…sigh*), I realized something: I’m training! I’ve never done this before. Yesterday when I bought my wetsuit (ouch says my bank account), I said to the folks at the store, “I’ve never trained on purpose before.” This is so true!

Before, my motivation was always less than ideal.  For a long time, I got up in the morning and worked out (bike ride, run, spin class, whatever) because I’d binged the night before and felt like I needed to pay for my sins.  For a while, afternoon workouts were a must because I was scared to be at home alone, mostly because I’d binge.  For some time (more than once), I was working out multiple times a day.  I think besides thinking this would help me lose weight, I also use exercise as a major distraction. 

While I’ve said before that there is a fine line between dedication and obsession, I really am learning to find that difference.  Yesterday, for example, I woke up and was just about to have breakfast when my vision went blurry. If you get migraines, you know what I mean. Needless to say, this sucks.  I’d be lying if I said I decided then and there to take a rest day. I went back to bed, slept it off, and spent the afternoon wetsuit shopping/seeing my mom as planned. But even though I had missed the run I was planning on doing (just a short 40 minutes, mostly working on running properly) in the morning for a legitimate reason, had taken my migraine medicine (which I’m fairly certain is a vasodilator?), and had my mom’s company for the day, I still kept thinking I’d run before dinner.  Even though these ‘excuses’ are legitimate, and so is the fact that it was hot out, I haven’t had a rest day in forever, and I was tired, I still had to tell myself that it’s okay to have an unplanned recovery day.  Luckily I’m readingThe Athlete’s Guide to Recovery right now as an extra reminder to take it easy (PS I tweeted at the author, Sage Rountree, and she replied! how cool is that?!).  I took the evening off and today I had a much better ride for it. I think I’m finding myself more on the side of dedicated athlete than obsessive exerciser these days…

That being said, I think it’s important to note that for me, “working out” was always about:

  • burning food off/making up for what I’d eaten or planned to eat
  • punishing myself
  • what I thought I ‘should’ do (cardio, cardio, and more cardio)
  • getting a certain average speed
  • finishing no matter what
  • going as hard as possible
  • burning calories
  • competing with others
  • winging it
  • not fueling properly before or after (getting by on as little as possible)
  • exercising anyway even if my foot hurt/I was sick/etc.
  • thinking of stretching, warming up, and cooling down as lost time
  • distracting myself from my problems
  • looking a certain way: thin and hardcore

Training for this triathlon has shifted me to a new mindset:

  • fueling my workouts appropriately and making sure to recover from them with food
  • workouts that make sense
  • taking scheduled rest days and even adding extra if necessary
  • focusing on what is important (technique, maybe some intervals, etc.) instead of calories burned or speed
  • completing something for the sake of doing it (i.e. I am not going to win this triathlon. So what? I’m doing it/you have to start some where!)
  • long term: learning how to prevent injury and re-learning my technique so that I can do the sport properly for the LONG haul
  • taking the time to warm up, to cool down, and to stretch (I’m still working on this stretching thing)
  • using exercise as a time to clear my mind about my problems
  • trusting my body
  • being a certain way: strong, powerful, and in balance

My list could go on and on but I’ve got a lengthy reading list that I’d like to get workin’ on and my bed (okay, futon where I can sleep by the screen door and not sweat balls all night) is calling to me!

Do you consider yourself someone who works out or someone who trains? Do you think there’s a difference?
If you have a day where you really don’t want to work out, do you force yourself?

What kinds of things motivate you to stay active?
Do you only do races or competitions where you think you’ll win or at least do well or are you okay with just finishing something for the sake of doing it?
What’s your training philosophy/outlook on exercise?
Has anyone ‘famous’-ish ever tweeted back at you?



5 responses to “Training vs. working out

  1. you’re an inspiration for sharing this! i must admit i’m super scared/excited about bluewater in a few weeks, but i love having a race goal. makes me feel like my training/diet/recovery has a purpose. love this! can’t wait to read more! (and to have you as a full-time TRAINING partner in september) xo

    • Thanks for replying and for being so excited with me! I love this stuff. I had a quote of the day today about “valuing the process” (yes, I get a quote of the day…actually 3 different ones!) and that’s a reminder that if I was automatically gonna do an Ironman or automatically going to be the best at this sport, what would be the point? Looking back I think I will laugh at these days.

      We have 15 days to go til Bluewater. I cannot bail now that I have a wetsuit, and I am trying to keep my mind from wishing for a wavy lake and resultant duathlon because that would be a cop out. There’s no doubt in my mind that you are going to be AWESOME at this race. You’ve been training hard and you’re EXCITED for it! I think you’ll win, but I’m not jinxing ANYTHING!

      ❤ happy training! We need to get together for a ride or SOMETHING soon!!!

  2. Okay. Firstly sorry I haven’t commented in a while. Don’t tell my boss, but I’ve been reading your blog at work and for some reason I can’t post comments.

    What triathlon are you currently training for? I definitely consider myself someone who trains. When I log my workouts, I either categorize them as fitness (just general things like volleyball, yoga (which I wish I did lol), etc.) or training. It helps me separate what im doing to make myself faster, stronger etc and what I consider to be more fun.

    I only sign up fr a small number of races, because I want to train properly for them and also because they tend to be a little expensive. I’d rather sign up for fewer and do my best in them.

    Keep up the blogging!

  3. Lauren I’m glad that you’re still reading! I subscribed to your blog as well 🙂

    I am training for a sprint triathlon in Sarnia that I usually do the olympic distance du for! It’s called the Bluewater Triathlon and it’s on the 23!

    Have you always had a trainign mindset or was it something that came with time?

  4. Pingback: I’m a triathlete! « eatplayluvblog

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