Tuesday Workout of the Week: The Two-By-Five!

No, that’s not a new measurement for a piece of wood. It’s a workout I created last Friday when I really, really needed to get out and exercise, because I had a three-day dry spell last week where I didn’t move a whole lot. (There were acute contributing circumstances. I haven’t gone three days without a workout in a really, really long time.)

A 2x5 isn't a new measurement for a piece of wood. It's a workout that you break up into two pieces when you're getting back to a serious workout program after some time away. (Image courtesy of domdeen at FreeDigitalPhotos.net)
A 2×5 isn’t a new measurement for a piece of wood. It’s a workout that you break up into two pieces when you’re getting back to a serious workout program after some time away. (Image courtesy of domdeen at FreeDigitalPhotos.net)

Sometimes, cardio exercise where I don’t “go anywhere” (like riding a stationary bike or circling a track) feels just fine. I get lost in my thoughts, listen to music, regroup. But sometimes I need to feel like I’m accomplishing something. And having a half-marathon on the horizon, one that I haven’t been able to train for a whole lot because of that wonky quadriceps/knee injury I dealt with earlier this summer, is a big motivator for getting my running back together.

So last Friday, when I realized I had scheduled coffee with a friend at a coffee shop exactly five miles from my home, I thought…ooooh, what an opportunity! And so was born a version of a long run that’s just a little easier on my legs and knees: the Two-By-Five (“2×5” in my workout journal, for short). Ten miles total. But easier than one ten-mile chunk.

It’s crazy simple. Five miles running, then a significant break (in my case, an hour and a half of lovely conversation with my friend over coffee), then five miles running again. I threw in a few two-minute walking breaks in that second five miles as I ran home, just to keep my quads from striking again and saying “what are you doing to me today???”

Given that last week was also kind of a sad week, I needed the time with my friend as much as I needed the workout. The 2×5 gave me the opportunity to have both of them at once.

You can use this concept with any kind of exercise, at any time. Do you really want to get in 60 minutes of walking one day, but you don’t have 60 minutes at once? Do 30 minutes in the morning and 30 at lunch. Or after work, or school, or whatever you spend your days doing. You can break it up into two different activities: 30 minutes of running in the morning and 30 minutes of yoga in the evening. It doesn’t have to be any particular length, or any particular kind of movement.

Just make it something you really love to do, and something that you look forward to doing. Once you know what you love (in exercise, and in life), everything else just kind of falls into place.

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