Liza Howard

Liza Howard

Liza Howard is a national champion runner with multiple records in distances ranging from marathons to 100 mile trail races.


Procrastination and treadmill hills


I’ve got a hilly workout scheduled for today and I think it’ll be on the treadmill.  I could drive out to some hilly roads after Eliot gets home, but I’m not really feeling that kind of willpower today — and the hills aren’t all that long or steep anyway.  I’ve got to take a look the grades for some of the climbs for Western States…

I’m reading a book about procrastination.  (Keep your snarky comments to yourself.)  The premise is that procrastination is caused by impulsiveness.  I’ve never really thought of myself as impulsive.  In fact, I’ve always kind of thought impulsiveness was something I should aspire to — being more of a “stick in the mud” type.  But I’ve been a bad procrastinator these past 3 1/2 years (Son’s age: 3 1/2) and Dr. Piers Steel’s premise in The Procrastination Equation rings true.  “Here’s what happens when we procrastinate. Long-range plans are made in the abstract, that is, in the absence of the reality you will face when you try to enact them. This means that the limbic system, which is activated by environmental cues, often operates separately from the prefrontal cortex. It is all very good to make plans to diet or exercise but when the reality of the moment comes, there is a very tangible chocolate mousse in front of you, or the bed is so warm and cozy and you are craving another hour of sleep. So the limbic system overrides the prefrontal cortex, and you binge or stay in bed.”

I’ve only read the second half of the book, in which Steel offers some solutions.  (The only books I’ve read from start to finish in the last year involve trains, combine harvesters, and fire engines.)  His suggestions weren’t anything you haven’t heard before, but they were very helpful to read all at once — under the umbrella of impulsiveness avoidance.  He only lost me briefly with: “Everyone understands you can’t run back-to-back marathons…”

I’ll leave off now since it’s nearing 11pm and sleepiness breeds impulsiveness — and I want to set some short-term goals for Western States to make it a little less abstract before I crawl into bed.  Sleep well.

Comments 2
  • SteveQ
    Posted on

    SteveQ SteveQ

    Reply Author

    “You either binge or stay in bed.” It’s not either/or; I binge AND stay in bed.

    Wait, was that snarky?

    • lizahoward
      Posted on

      lizahoward lizahoward

      Reply Author

      Agreed — not and either/or decision necessarily.
      And just didn’t want any comments about what I was should be doing instead of reading a book about procrastination. Like my speed workout — or cleaning the bathroom — or, really, cleaning anything in the house.