It was one of those days. Or, to put it more accurately, one of those nights. A night when sleep was not easy in arriving, and left me far too quickly. By 3 a.m., I was up, fully awake, and no amount of white noise, beachy sounds, bedtime stories or backrubs was going to get me back to sleep. When that happens, the day that follows can feel like it’s never going to end.
My official First Gut Feeling was this: take a nap during the day, Nicole. But when I’m overtired, it’s actually really hard for me to get to sleep during daylight hours.
My Second Gut Feeling was this: I’d love to run right now, but I’m waaaaaay too tired to do it. So I just…won’t.
And my Third Gut Feeling went like so:
Let’s make a deal!
“How about you just put your running gear on, and just do a really short and simple workout, Nicole? As slow as you want, even. Just do it.”
And I said, okay, you win. I dubbed that particular workout “Four on the Floor” because for me, a short and simple run is a four-miler. Get out there, put your boots (or, well, your running shoes) on the ground, and move. No expectation. No judgment. Just….move.
And a funny thing happened on the way to finishing a four-miler. I finished a six-miler. At seriously good tempo pace. And felt like a million bucks all of a sudden. BOOM! It took a few minutes to get going, but once I was going, I was going.
This is why I think exercise is miraculous. It does things to us that absolutely nothing else can do. Sure, I could have tried to nap. But it wasn’t working. So I was just exhausted and stressed. But by moving, and picking the kind of movement that I most love to do, suddenly my body got in step, got with the program, and got moving, in a big and quite awesome way.
I’ve heard versions of this adage before, from many people: the way you feel before a workout has basically zero correlation with the way you’re likely to feel after the workout. Just get out there. That’s why the Workout of the Week (the WOW, and is that not the best ever name for it, considering how cool it tuned out to be?) is called “Let’s Make a Deal!”
It’s actually a version of the Better Than Nothin’ workout I wrote about back in January. You can always make a deal with yourself to do something ridiculously simple, something that feels like a complete no-brainer, when you’re otherwise just fried. And then, when you’ve made that deal with yourself to just move in the easiest possible way, sometimes your body and mind will catch fire on their own, and you’ll be “all there,” all of a sudden.
Here’s what I learned in my laboratory-of-one life this past week: Sleep is restful for me at night, and sometimes during a quick 20-to-30 minute nap in the mid-to-late afternoon if I’ve been go-go-going all day. But in a sleepy morning when I’ve been up for a while and I’m feeling groggy-tired, a workout is better than trying to get back to sleep. That’s just me, right now, in my laboratory of one.
But it might just work for you, too, and that’s why it’s today’s Workout of the Week. That’s the miracle of movement. How will you court that miracle in your own life today?