Looking Good During a Workout

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post by Sweaty Betty.

I will admit it. I like to look cute when I workout. There, I said it.

Now, that doesn’t mean that I’m going to be doing my hair all fancy or putting on makeup before I go for a run. That’s just ridiculous. But I do make sure that my hair isn’t sticking out at any stupid angles.

(Note – this is all about how I look when I start the workout. It is a guarantee that after a workout, my hair is going to be sticking up at all sorts of stupid angles.)

So it’s no surprise that I like really cute workout gear. I have to admit, I’ve become one of those people who is often in workout gear during non-workout situations. So what if I don’t do a lot of yoga? Doesn’t mean I can’t wear cute yoga clothes. I may have even gotten away with wearing yoga pants to work. But in my defense, it was a casual day before a holiday and they weren’t obviously yoga pants… okay, there is no defense. But I just don’t care.

On the weekends, you’ll often find me in a pair of jeans or a tech skirt paired with a running shirt. More often than not, the shirt is from a race, as I own way too many race shirts. But I’ve been trying to branch out and have bought a number of nice workout shirts for races (and for everyday wear).

Of course, it can’t just be cute. It also has to be functional. Just because a sports bra comes in fabulous colors doesn’t mean it’s going to keep the girls in place for a workout. And that shirt had better be wicking, because I’m not one of those girls who just glistens when she works out. I full on sweat and there is nothing worse than a sodden cotton shirt.

Lately, I’ve seen a lot of backlash against the idea of looking good while you workout. And I admit, when I’m biking up a tough hill, I’m certainly not looking stereotypically “good.” I’m sweating and red and huffing and puffing. But when I make it to the top of that hill, I certainly feel fabulous. I’m not worried about how I look during that ride or after. However, there is an added bit of self confidence in knowing that I look good before I start a workout. If I’m self-conscious about how I look in my gear, I’m not going to have as good of a workout. Or worse, I might not even show up.

Sure, I shouldn’t care. But telling yourself how to feel doesn’t ever change how you feel. If it worked, we would all feel awesome all of the time.

Who am I trying to impress? No one. But I don’t even like running alone on my treadmill in just a sports bra and shorts. Who’s going to see me? Just the cats. But I don’t like the way my pale belly looks, so instead of rocking out the workout, I’m going to be thinking about how I look.

Is that crazy? Yes.

Now, I’m not saying that you should have to look good for a workout. But you should dress in a way that makes you feel comfortable and confident. I know that I feel best when I feel like I look good, be that in heels and a fabulous dress at work or a great workout outfit while on a run. And it’s hard to describe, but I don’t do it for other people. I like to look good for me.

But it’s also fun to look back at race pictures and think I look fabulous.

Sweaty Betty is an awesome company that I recently discovered, and I love reading through their catalog. I’m currently lusting after their protector run jacket. They’ve got lots of fun gear and more excitingly, an inspiration page so you can get ideas of what to wear. Get that wishlist started!

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Thanks to Sweaty Betty for sponsoring this post.

Race Musings

So as usual, since my race, I’ve been dwelling on what went right and what went wrong.  Obviously, overall, I don’t have many complaints, as I had an awesome finish.  But during the race, I could tell where I needed to improve.

Things that went right:

  • My swim was competent.  No freaking out, no worrying.  Definitely a step in the right direction.
  • Transitions were super speedy!  Not sure what happened there, but I took a lot of time off of my transitions.  Of course, given how my transition times “ranked,” I have some room for improvement.  Of course, I didn’t put on my bike gloves, which I decided later that I should have done.
  • My run was way faster than I anticipated.  Of course, that was helped by the fact that while on multisport mode, my watch gives me my pace in km, so I had no concept of how fast I was going.  I just did what felt good.

Things that need to be improved:

  • My HRM is all screwed up.  I replaced the battery, then replaced the entire thing, and it still won’t read on my watch.  Going to work with it this weekend.  Annoying.
  • My bike was frustrating.  I just felt like I should be able to do more.  Easy enough to work on though. MORE TRAINING!  I didn’t pass a single rider on the bike, just got passed myself.
  • Mentally, I just need to accept that I’m a slow runner.  I will get people passing me like crazy on the run, and that’s just going to happen.  I can continue to improve a bit, but I’m never going to be fast.  And that’s okay.  I just need to keep moving forward and continue to work on my bike and my swim.

You know, when I write it all out, it’s not that bad at all.  I think that coming out of the extra long swim frustrated and then getting on the bike where I got passed a number of times just left me feeling let down.  I have to remember that I’m not racing against anyone else.  I’m racing against myself, and it doesn’t matter how many people I pass or how many people pass me, but rather how I do when compared to myself.

Thoughts while swimming

When I swim at the pool by myself, I sort of get lost in my thoughts.  I focus on form and all, but I also find my mind wandering.  And man, it wanders in weird places.

  • I probably should have eaten breakfast before swimming.  I’m hungry.
  • I wonder what that thing is at the bottom of the pool.
  • What is that guy wearing?  Is that a swim skirt on a man?
  • Maybe it’s a lady.
  • Maybe I can go to McDonalds on the way to work.
  • Nope, not a lady.  Guy in a swim skirt.  Whatever works.
  • That thing at the bottom of the pool looks like the world’s largest dust bunny.
  • Why does this swim cap never want to stay on my head?
  • Am I getting a bald spot on the front of my head from this thing?
  • I wonder how many emails will be in my inbox when I get to work.
  • Is that a dead fish at the bottom of the pool?
  • How would a fish get into the pool?
  • It still looks like a dead fish.  That’s gross.
  • My watch does a good job of counting laps.
  • I should maybe focus on my swimming.
  • Is that dead fish coming closer?  Gross.

And the first OWS of the season is done

On Saturday morning, I went to an Open Water Swim clinic by Coach Dawn.  Who is amazing.  In case you were wondering.

This was my first chance to get into open water this year, my first chance to really try out my wetsuit, and a good way to get an idea of how my 1500m swim at Fort Ritchie Swimfest will go at the end of the month.  I’m not worried about my ability to swim 1500m.  Plus it’s actually 2 750m swims, so I will be on dry land for a bit of time between.

The cold water part, though, and the wetsuit wearing and the open water part in general have me a bit concerned.  Those are all things that I can’t practice for at the pool.

So OWS practice it was.

The wetsuit is going to take some practice to get into.  I have a sleeveless suit because full sleeves just make me feel claustrophobic, and I have enough issues with freaking out in the open water as it is.  So yes, it’s a bit colder (and that moment when the cold water pours into the armholes… yikes.

We got in, splashed around, then got back out and did a time trial-style start.  That means that you get in the water in 2’s or 3’s and there are a few seconds between each group.  It’s supposed to be safer than the mass swim start.  I personally like the in-water start, but that’s just me.

I started swimming and just could not find my groove.  I don’t know if it was the wetsuit or the cold or what it was, but I was just struggling.  I was making no progress, struggling to sight, and it just wasn’t going well.  I kind of wanted to cry, except that wouldn’t have been good with goggles on.  Dawn noticed and called me over to her kayak.  Apparently in addition to everything else, my arm position was all screwy too, which is something I’m going to have to think about the next time I’m in the pool – I’m not sure if it was just due to the OWS or if it’s something I’ve been doing wrong for a while.  I’d like to think my swim coaches at Thursday swims would have caught it.

Dawn was very reassuring and told me that the first OWS of the season typically sucks.  Just one of those fun things.  And she’s right.  I haven’t been in open water since August.  That was a long time ago.  Of course it’s going to feel crappy.  But now I got that crappy swim out of the way and can be ready.  I just have to be sure to stay out of my head and focus on the swimming.  I can do it, I just have to remind myself that I can do it.