Today Elena is sharing her secret weapons for getting back on track after a break from fitness. After an injury and a pregnancy, I can more than relate to what Elena’s talking about today and I will definitely be using her advice in the coming weeks and months.

fitness goals

Two marathons, a dozen half marathons, sprint triathlons, Zumba, Pilates, and spinning. Albeit inconsistently at times, this has been my life for the last fifteen years.

But now? Three weeks away from what was supposed to be my very first international distance triathlon? I find myself winded during a 17 minute walk around my neighborhood.

Granted, my body is recovering from a surgery. But still. Winded. After 17 minutes of walking. Slowly. This is not where I imagined I would be right now.

I could spend FOREVER reflecting on how I got to this place, and how frustrating it is to feel weak. I could go on and on about the emotional repercussions of not working out regularly. But the truth is none of that will help. It will only make me more frustrated and more disillusioned.

The truth of the matter is that it is all up to me now. It is up to me to make the changes. To accept my new reality and create a plan that is realistic and attainable to get back on track. I cannot just pretend to jump back into where I was a few months ago, or worse, last year at this time. The first step has to be acknowledging my current level of fitness, or lack there of, and then putting one foot in front of the other, day after day, to eventually, in time, be strong once again.

There is no room for “last year, I was able to {fill in the blank}.”  The only room that exists is one of concrete actions.  Actions that will take time to become habit. Actions like getting up early to work out, or arranging for my family to take care of dinner so that I can get a workout in after work in the early evening. Actions that will not just happen on their own.

Which if I am being honest, is just plain scary. I cannot remember the last time that I literally was starting from scratch like I am now.  In the past, I have been able to rely on my old standbys to get me back into the routine. A few tough days on the treadmill, (ok maybe weeks) before feeling like myself again out on the running trail.  This time though, it is going to take time to build up a a base, a foundation of both cardiovascular and strength.

My Secret Weapons

The good news is that I have a lot of resources at my disposal. I have a treadmill and my road bike set up on a trainer in a workout room in our basement. I have some fantastic DVD’s and fitness games for the Wii and the Xbox. But more importantly, I have two secret weapons.

The first…is… a calendar.  A calendar where I will write down every thing I do.  A calendar that will keep me accountable, visually, for building that base. A calendar that will tell me, within a moment whether I have done my best or have fallen prey to the abyss of possible excuses that are waiting to pounce on my discouraged psyche.

The second is a goal event. An event to aim for. One that is just enough of a stretch that I will feel like it is an accomplishment, but one that is realistic and attainable.  A little bit like writing a SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, time bound) goal in my professional life, picking a goal event means being honest with where I am now, what I think I can accomplish, and how much time it will really take for me to get there. Because picking a goal event and then not being ready? Talk about discouraging.

I am debating on what this goal event might be. I am still scheduled for an international distance triathlon in September, but I am a bit worried that it might be too much of a stretch.  There are a number of Disney endurance events that sound appealing to me, and several other local non local events that appeal to me…but I know that I need to think this through. Just like I would in my professional life, this goal needs to be mapped out. Thought about. It needs to MEAN something to me.

In the end, it is all up to me. It is up to me to be honest. It is up to me to make my goal a reality. It is up to me to fill that calendar with finished workouts. It is up to me to push past the excuses or potential road blocks.  Only me.

Because feeling anything less than strong and healthy? Is simply not an option.




Elena is a blogger, free lance writer, transitioning from the life of a teacher to one of a WAHMaven. Being a cancer survivor has taught her to believe in one thing: life is about living. One moment at a time. Elena shares her perspective on life, travel, fitness, and more at Ciao Mom and works to inspire and empower others at Just.Be.Enough.