You Can't Be Perfect

Wait! Don’t tell us – you are reading this with bleary eyes and a pounding head from last night’s festivities. Or maybe you made a resolution to lose weight and get healthy this year, and you’re already questioning your motivation.

Everybody sabotages their fitness plans from time to time – even your local running columnists. So we’re not going to beat you over the head today about all the reasons you should be running.

Runners certainly aren’t perfect. Many of us will overindulge at New Year’s Eve parties, throwing back drinks and eating dozens of little sausages on toothpicks, finally crashing into the sack in the wee hours of the morning. So if you chastise yourself for not beginning your training program today, don’t take it too hard.

Just start in small doses, a little bit at a time. Even walking a mile is an accomplishment if you haven’t done it for a while. Start with small changes, and they’ll eventually become larger ones. You don’t have to be perfect every day.

Most health experts say that you need sixty minutes of daily activity, but that’s tough for anyone to do. On the inevitable days when you fall short, your long-term success and self-esteem depend entirely on your outlook. Don’t feel bad if you only have time to walk for a twenty minutes instead of an hour, or if you run only two miles when your training plan called for three. Just keep plugging along and don’t quit or lose your focus.

The key to any training program is to simply do something more than you used to. Or – in the case of eating – do something less than usual. Switch from walking one mile to jogging two, or from eating double cheeseburgers to frequenting Subway. Remember, progress happens in little steps on a regular basis.

Bad habits don’t become perfect ones overnight and fitness doesn’t happen immediately. Don’t get discouraged if changes are small at first – just dedicate yourself to achieving them, you’ll gradually make big improvements over the course of the year.

Perhaps by next January 1st, you can join the hundreds of runners who, by the time you are reading this, have already finished the Rio Resolution run and are eating a great post-race breakfast. Even though many of them were up late, they all made the decision to make fitness a priority for the New Year’s holiday.

On a personal note - many of us at this year’s race are wearing shirts in honor of Mickey, a local running club member who had run every one of the 17 previous Rio Resolution Runs prior to today, and always brought champagne to celebrate with everyone after the run. This year Mickey is recuperating from a very tough operation due to his recent diagnosis of pancreatic cancer, and was unable to attend the race.

Running makes our lives better, but it doesn’t make us invincible. We hope that your 2009 is filled with fitness and health, and many more good days than bad ones. And please join us in thinking good thoughts for Mickey.

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