The Importance of Variety

For the past several years C and I have enjoyed doing different things to stay active, complement our running and just enjoy life. Be it spinning, lifting, hiking, swimming, sports, boot camps, or something else, we were always mixing things up. Back in Des Moines, I had implemented CrossFit into my routine and saw the value in doing so. C decided she wanted to give it a shot, so we had our first workout this morning and she really enjoyed it! Although it was fun and challenging, it brings up something worth thinking about … the importance of varying your workouts.

What are the pieces to your fitness puzzle?
What are the pieces to your fitness puzzle?

While we love to run (and plan to for a long, long time), we also enjoy other activities. C really enjoys Spinning, so I have tagged along with her to several classes to get a killer workout in. I enjoy lifting in my spare time, and she has recently started hitting the weight room with me. I’m sure anyone who sees me on a spin bike and C in the weight room can tell these are relatively unnatural places for the both of us – but it doesn’t bother us one bit. In fact, we love it for several reasons:

  • Kill the boredom. Naturally, anyone who does the same routine day-in and day-out runs the (inevitable) risk of burning out. You see it with all types, but I think it’s REALLY common for runners. Getting out there and running every single day can get dull quick if you don’t mix it up. At least for me, I would still eventually get burned out even if I was jumping from a track workout to a tempo run, or from sprints to a long distance run. It would still be running, and it would slowly get harder and harder to psyche myself up to get out there.
  • Embrace the unnatural. If I ran daily, of course I’d have the potential to become great at it over time, but put me in the weight room and I may struggle to lift the bar. It’s unnatural to me since all I do is run. This is no way to approach health … In fact, it’s counter-productive. I could run with more power and a stronger stride if I got in and hit the weights a few times a week … which is exactly why we do just that.
  • Connect with something new. That’s how I came across running. Believe me, it wasn’t my first love. I forced myself outside of the things I enjoyed and tried something new – and my life will never be the same because of it. C has developed a fondness for weight training … something that was worlds away from the Spin bike. The fact is: You just have to get out there and try it. However, I would strongly encourage you to stick with anything you pick up for a minimum of a month. You can’t get a true read on something in any less time than that, in my opinion.
  • Improve at what you love.  Pick up, embrace and push-through with a new fitness regimen for thirty days (while still enjoying your primary hobby), and I guarantee you’ll see benefits in doing so. Faster times? Maybe. Improved strength and conditioning? Potentially. A renewed love and enjoyment of your favorite activity? Absolutely.

While we have incorporated biking, hiking and now CrossFit and strength training, we are constantly swapping in new activities and giving them a try. Not only has it been a blast, but it’s been highly beneficial for our running, too.

Everything is just a piece to the puzzle … no single piece will completely round out your fitness goals. Take a hard look at what you want out of what you’re doing and I guarantee you there are additional activities you could be doing to get you there.

Have a great week,


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