Carrot and stick

An assignment took me to the mall the other day, where my job was to talk to shoppers about why they like that particular mall,

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One of the "carrots" I'm dangling in front of my nose.

then get out of there.

Instead, I found myself wandering through Sephora, lusting after a Philosophy bubble bath that would be the perfect addition to my recent addiction to Epsom-salt baths. But since I’m saving up for several big-ticket items — new ski boots, a $250 race registration for the Great Chesapeake Bay Swim in June that’s seriously making me think about doing the cheaper 1-mile swim instead, $90 for the National Marathon — I held back.

After safely driving away from the temptation, it occurred to me that I have a golden opportunity to bribe myself. Losing my regular pool has left me unmotivated to go through the annoyance of finding a new place to swim, then actually making that first workout happen. But here’s my new promise to myself: After logging five good swims, I can buy myself the $12 bubble bath.

This got me thinking: I can do the same thing with the other stuff I want, using my wish-list items as carrots dangling in front of my nose as motivations to work out. Here’s the short list:

A few new sports bras — maybe two cheap ones from Target and one of my favorite Mizuno-brand ones. I’m letting myself buy the Target sports bras, about $15 a pop, once I log five good core workouts.

The Quadballer is apparently a hard-core version of my beloved foam roller. It’s $68.63 with shipping costs, but apparently, the Chevy Chase Running Company sells it locally. This might just be a reward for holding off on actual massages, which I love but really can’t afford.

A Garmin Forerunner. Not the new fancy one, just a trusty old 205 or 305, which retails around $125-$150 right now. My Nike + only cost $30, but after the latest malfunction (it told me I ran 2.5 miles at 14-minute-mile pace), I’m beginning to realize you get what you pay for.

And finally … a race registration for the YMCA Bethesda-Chevy Chase Turkey Chase on Thanksgiving. This, along with other holiday races in the Washington area, will serve as a sort of self-fulfilling prophecy: I’ll reward myself for workouts by registering for the race, which will motivate me to work out to train for said race. Come to think of it, all of these wish-list items will motivate me to work out. What sweet rewards! I’m hoping these motivate me sufficiently, so I don’t have to resort to a stick (not to be confused with The Stick).

What’s on your training wish list? How do you reward yourself for completing tough workouts?

 

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4 Comments

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4 responses to “Carrot and stick

  1. Great ideas! I’ve currently got about $40 worth of clearance stuff in my shopping cart at nike.com–and I told myself I’ll click purchase if I stick to my goal pace for this weekend’s long run : )

  2. I love the Garmin! That would be the first one that I would work towards 🙂

  3. JT

    Great idea! I am totally going to use this to keep me motivated…. need a solid goal now…

  4. trialsoftraining

    Exercising gets expensive, right?? Ugh. I learned this during my recent Winter-running shopping adventure. Wanted a $60 Underarmor pullover, but went with a $30 C9 jacket from Target – which I actually really love now.

    Race fees are Always on my wish list – that’s one thing I always bite my lip about. Ehhh, I’m Paying to run?? geeze.

    You’ve got some serious motivation up there, though. 🙂 The Garmin DOES give you what you pay for (fyi)….get it get it!

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