The No-Plan Exercise Plan


woman running. exercise planI have two goals every day:

  1. Teach my kids something.
  2. Exercise.

These are the only two goals I can handle right now. 

Well, the exercise is, anyway.

I fail in a million different ways every day. The only success I consistently achieve is regular physical activity. Even though I don’t know exactly what time it’ll happen, I know that every day I will escape my home and family for 20+ minutes. I will put on my 1990s-era sports bra (they just don’t make them like they used to) and holeless-for-the-moment running shoes, and I will chase my bliss down the block.

I will start at a sprint because echoes of “Mom, I need…” and “Why, Mom?” and “But, Mom…” propel me out the door.  

I’ll be gasping by the end of the block and my pace will slow considerably. By that point, I’ll be able to calmly choose the book podcast or comedy show or beat-exploding playlist that will keep me company for the next part of my run/walk/trudge. (It will also be enjoyed by anyone around me as I have no headphones. AirPods, ShmairPods.) 

I don’t set specific time goals or distance goals or pace goals. I go until the mom demons leave me alone and the endorphins inspire me to return home.

If I return and I’m greeted by a litany of demands, I turn around to add another mile.

I’m just that committed.

I don’t have a program or a goal weight or a gym membership. All I know is that every day, I need to leave the house, get my heart rate up, and return a happier being capable of tackling … all of it.

I go in 100-degree heat and minus-10 degree ice and it is the only thing I do every day that I don’t somehow regret after the fact. It’s for me but it’s also for the people who live with me.

It’s also a great excuse to buy a fanny pack.

I’ve done group exercise and schedules and programs in the past and I’ve enjoyed all of it. Right now, I don’t want any of that. I want alone time and the open road and the freedom to make my escape as long or as short as I need.

I know my goals will change. At some point, I will no longer have the luxury of prioritizing this exercise because professional aspirations and other life goals will supersede everything else.

For now, it’s my one daily win. We all need one of those.

Do you exercise regularly? 


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