Switching Up the Workouts

I am a creature of habit. I eat at the same restaurants, watch the same programs, drive the same route, and the first thing I do every morning when I get out of bed is brush my teeth. NO EXCEPTIONS. 

The creature of habit thing serves me well in exercise, at least with marathon training. I've used the exact same program, no deviations, to train for my last 3 marathons, and I've PR'd in each of them. Lately, however, I've felt the need to mix up my routine. 

Why? For one thing, I'm bored. My routine for over two years now has been run 3 days, bike 2 days, weight train 2 days. If I get a wild hair, I throw in a day of yoga. More than that, the days I do each of these exercises has been set in stone. Run T-TH-Sat, bike MW, weight train MW. Can you say "rigid," boys and girls?

So, thanks to marathon training being over (until July) and the magic of groupons, I'm branching out.

I just completed 10 sessions of Extend Barre. I was a skeptic after the first class. They "only" use 2 lb weights and it's a lot of Jane Fonda leg kick movements. Whatever, I thought. I'm sooooo above this. 

Uh, wrong. The class is deceptively simple looking. The secret is a bunch of teeny-tiny movements that dig (and I mean, DIG) down into the smaller muscles, especially in the abs and glutes. The class was doing amazing things for my butt and I'm sorry to let it go, but at $28/class, it's more than I want to pay. 

Luckily, a groupon showed up for bikram, or hot, yoga. One month of unlimited classes. I start next Tuesday and I am SCARED. I have lost so much flexibility these last 2 years and then there's also that 105 degree room thing. But I've wanted to try this form of yoga for years and what's a little sweat and vomit between friends?

Later this summer, my friend Christie and me are going to borrow road bikes, slowly working our way toward (maybe, no promises) a duathlon. (I foresee a flurry of blog entries about clips, stupid drivers who hog the road, and how my Hello Kitty helmet saved my life.) 

Running has become fun again. I start each run with no plan, other than to get outside and have fun. Fast, slow, long, short. Doesn't matter. It's a great reminder that running doesn't always have to be about achieving something, or getting stronger or faster. Sometimes, it's just fun to move.

What about all of you? What do you do to keep your workouts fresh and stay motivated?