When it comes to exercise, that’s me. As it turns out, I need to be alone. I have to work out, and, walk, alone, sans company. It’s not personal. It’s just a fact. Here are some of the reasons:
- It’s my quiet time. I need time alone with God every day. I don’t just want it. I need it. It’s my time to pray and talk with Him. Maybe you pray. Maybe you don’t. I do. My morning walk is where I do my best praying.
- It’s my ‘me’ time. I’m an extrovert. I expend a great deal of energy being with people. I love being wired that way, but the simple truth is, I need regular significant ME time. I need to get away from anything that even smells of responsibility. In the old days, that was during my daily time training my sled dogs. Once the dogs hit the trail, it was just the dogs, nature, God and me. I could tune out the real world and just be. I treasured those miles and minutes. After we moved south and I had to give up my dogs, I found my space in my morning farm chores. I would be up early, feeding and watering all the livestock and taking care of the garden. Now that farming is mostly behind me, my chores only take a few minutes in the morning. In the past few weeks, I’ve rediscovered peace and harmony in my morning walk. That’s probably weird, but it’s definitely true.
- It’s my most creative time. When I’m walking in the morning, or doing my exercise, I can mentally work on books, blog posts, podcasts, sermons, and a host of other creative projects. I can’t do that if someone is walking with me. I will only focus on the person or people with me.
- Walking with someone is distracting. When the going gets tough, I like to let my mind wander. I want to think about writing, or teaching, or just the nature around me. I want to think about anything except the work I’m involved in. If people are around, I can’t get lost in the moment. All I can hear is the footsteps and breathing of my companions. All I can think about is my exploding lungs or weakening muscles.
- Walking or exercising with companions makes my workout harder and takes me off my plan. First of all, I’m too sociable. I will want to talk with my companion(s) and talking throws off my breathing and rhythm. When that happens, I get short of breath and tired too soon. I really don’t want to have a stroke. That would seriously mess with my goals. Also, because I’m slower than EVERYONE, I will subconsciously speed up which will mess with my distance. The breathing and pace of those walking with me will silently influence my own. I hate peer pressure. 😉
- Getting thrown off my game makes me grumpy. And I don’t want to be grumpy. I’m not bothered by the fact that you are faster than me, or are a better athlete than I am. I have a plan, a goal. I need to stick to it. If I’m thrown off that plan, I tend to melt down.
I love being a social butterfly. I love people. Chances are I’m fond of you; just not while I’m trying to focus on my quiet time. I would love to spend time with you before my exercise time, and I would love to spend time with you after my exercise time. We can drink coffee, sip on iced tea, and chat or argue, or bear one another’s burdens, or any of a number of activities, but I need my tiny fragment of time alone.
I don’t know whether that sounds crazy, or whether it registers with you, but hopefully, it will at least help you understand that while I want you in my life, I don’t want you in my exercise program. I have no problem seeing you at the park or in the gym. In fact, I’m comforted if people I care about are there. Just do your thing, I’ll do mine, then we’ll change the world together.
Thanks for understanding.