Can’t do downward dog? Do downward “puppy dog”!

While traveling recently, I took in a Weight Watchers meeting in White Plains, NY and heard the leader give a great example of how to get a workout in, no matter how much (or little) energy you have, no matter how much (or little) enthusiasm you have…and probably even more important, how much (or little) time you have. This is what she said:

“If I can’t do downward dog, I do downward ‘puppy dog’!”

And I instantly loved her, because that is so completely what this whole staying-active thing is all about.

A variation on "downward dog." When you can't do downward dog, try a variation - whatever variation will get you to just get out there and do it. (Image courtesy of arztsamui /
A variation on “downward dog.” When you can’t do downward dog, try a variation – whatever variation will get you to just get out there and do it. (Image courtesy of arztsamui /

If you can’t do the thing you’re used to doing…or if you can’t do what “everyone else” is doing (in your yoga class, or your social group, or whatever “group” you’re suddenly comparing yourself to)…or if you can’t do something you used to be able to do…just do what you can. Build on that.

When I’m really pressed for time, or energy, or confidence, my version of “downward puppy dog” looks like this: I do something that almost feels too easy, just to get myself moving. Here’s an example: I was traveling last week and had to fit in a speed session for my marathon training. And there just wasn’t time to find a track, or, well, time and energy. So I made my way to a hotel treadmill and did the world’s easiest speed session (for me, right now, at my current level of fitness): walking to start, and then four repeats of a half-mile each at the pace I want to run my October marathon. Which, by definition, should feel pretty easy by then, if all of my training goes well.

Guess what? By the fourth 800-meter repeat, I was feeling much better and ran it quite a bit faster. And I was tempted to do more…but I didn’t. I left something on the table for next time. I gave myself permission to just have an easier day, and to wait until “next time” for the badass workout. And I got in my workout for the day.

That’s my version of “downward puppy dog.” What’s yours? Find it whenever you need it, and put it in your workout toolkit.

Recent #Every48 workouts: A lovely wedding on Friday 6/27 with lots of dancing…and a solid speed running session in the hotel gym on Saturday 6/28: 20 minutes of weight lifting (upper body and core); then 4 x 800 meters at 8:34 pace (last repeat at 8:00 pace). Sunday was a rest day.

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