Difficulties with these Challenges

June 5, 2009

In response to my previous post about the Run A Race This Summer Challenge, I got a lot of questions about variations of running or the time frame and so on. This is an excellent opportunity to discuss the adaptability of my health challenges (or any challenges, for that matter).

I gripe a lot about how I dislike running, but I’m enjoying it right now! However, challenges are not always enjoyable. Sometimes they just seem difficult and frustrating. With the Burpee Challenge that I’m doing, there’s been a few times when I had to take a couple days break from it. The idea of doing 40+ burpees can be daunting, and it just builds up from here! In these situations, I think it’s really important that we do not give up. It’s okay to take a break. And if your body or mind aren’t ready for it (like I was not ready to run a race a year ago), then it’s okay to set the challenge aside until a later date.Β  If something does come up and we need to set the challenge aside, sometimes the best way to deal with it is to alter the challenge slightly: such as running a 5k race rather than a half marathon.

If you find yourself putting aside a challenge that you’ve already started, ask yourself why you’re putting it aside. It could be a physical injury, or that you pushed yourself too hard too fast, or it could be that you aren’t mentally prepared for it, or you don’t enjoy it or care enough to put the effort in.

And that’s the reason why I like to create many different challenges. There’s something for everyone and they all last a short enough period of time that they are doable. There’s been many times when I have attempted a challenge and been defeated by it because my body or mind were not in the right place, so it was necessary to tweak the challenge or rethink it so that it was something I could realistically accomplish. This is also something that is really important to consider when you’re beginning a challenge: is it right for you? Are you ready for it? Taking a little bit of extra time to prepare for the challenge, or adjusting the challenge goals to individualize it to something that works for you, is absolutely fine! In fact, it’s better than fine; it’s a good thing to do. It is much better to tailor a challenge to suit your needs and desires than to half-heartedly attempt a challenge that is pre-designed which you aren’t really all that into.

One challenge that I put aside months ago is the Twenty Pull-ups Challenge (or, in my case, chin-ups. Adaptability!). I put it aside because although I was faring quite well with the challenge itself, my only real opportunity to do it was outside in a playground, and the play structure I was using to perform the chin-ups was too slippery with ice to be able to continue. Now that the weather is getting warmer, I will be starting it again soon (although I may wait until the Burpee Challenge is complete- we’ll see). On Wednesday I checked out my capabilities by attempting a few chin-ups and I managed to successfully complete two, so that’s a start. It’s back to the beginning, but that’s okay. The only way we can complete our challenges is if we work slowly and steadily and keep at it.

Accustom the challenges however you see fit. The Run A Race This Summer Challenge can be just about anything you want it to be; my loose guidelines are that it’s a race which involves something vaguely resembling running (so that includes walking, cycling etc), within the next few months- the idea being that we’re training during the summer. Have fun with it! Challenges are meant to be challenging, yes, but we’re not necessarily doing them for the end result. We’re doing them because they’re enjoyable and they’re doing something wonderful for our bodies and minds.

Have you had troubles with challenges (that I have proposed in the past or others that you have set for yourself)? How did you deal with the problems?


  1. I love and echo the ANYTHING YOU WANT IT TO BE!
    In the (notsochallenge) of my Clutter idea!
    People have emailed me and asked for “rules” etc as well and it is SO AS YOU SAY ABOVE.

    some of the gift of it (IMO) is if you STOP taking the time to figure out WHY (hello Push Up Challenge for me!) and learning more about yourself than you knew pre-challenge.

  2. My brain doesn’t seem to be wired for long-term challenges. I get bored. My method of dealing with it is to rotate challenges so that I’m always working toward *something*. It might be years before I can do the ultimate goal on some of these challenges that make the rounds, but I’m always moving. πŸ™‚

  3. I agree with you about being too obsessive with challenges. Perhaps that’s why I’ve always been more what I call directional oriented. For example, I wouldn’t say, I need to do 20 chin-ups, I would say, I’ll work on doing as many as I can, and see where it goes. That way, I’m always a success. Of course, with going to the moon, for example, your way would work better for the trip πŸ™‚ Just a thought.

  4. I like certain challenges because they definitely get me to try something I otherwise wouldn’t. I think I’ll join your Run a Race this summer challenge. I’d like to improve on my 5K time and there’s a race I could do in August. πŸ™‚

  5. I love your mindset. We’re all different individuals and we’re even different each day, so we just have to do our best and figure out what works for us.

    Glad you’re ont he good side with running right now πŸ™‚

  6. MizFit- I love your Clutter Challenge! And I agree about learning more about ourselves; it’s fantastic.

    Cammy- and always moving is the key. I get bored/distracted too, hence why my challenges are usually quite short term πŸ˜€

    Dr. J- I like your take on it. The continual success also makes it more likely that we’ll be able to keep at it.

    Eileen- hurray, I’m so happy you’re joining in on the fun! Love trying new things.

    Healthy Ashley- ME TOO.

  7. I think challenges and goals are the the only way we can really get to where we want to go. Life itself is a challenge, we don’t shy away from it, we get up every morning to meet it.

    It’s no difference with fitness. Embrace your challenges, set high and difficult ones, and you’ll get there. Just don’t let up.

  8. For me it’s a question of patience, patience, patience. When I set my mind to do something, I want to do it all RIGHT NOW, and I get disappointed when I can’t. I’ve been working really hard on accepting that being half way there on something is enough for the time being, and that I work up to my goal–I just have to wait a bit and let the rest of me catch up to my ambition.

  9. I rarely take on challenges but I sure admire people who do!

    I like to keep each workout flexible… and also, I’m too much of a slacker.

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