You can do anything for 2 minutes.

30 Jul

One of the most annoying things trainers do when you’re dripping in sweat, straining to achieve a time goal or hold a position is give you a metaphor for what you’re doing. From my experience, and being a total snob in the English department, I’ve found that most are either incomplete or flimsyier than the leg/arm/apendage I’m attempting to work.  The most annoying one is as follows: “You’ve got ____ left (fill that blank with the appropriate amount of torture time). You can do anything for ______.” Whether it be minutes or seconds, I’ve often thought to myself, while trying to hold all 155 lbs, or 145lbs, or whatever I am that day, what could one do for two minutes/30s seconds/ 15 seconds?  Worry not, readers. We shall explore this together.


Time is one of two things to a runner–best friend or worst enemy and will vary on the day. For me, in general life and running, time has never been a friend. I think the summer before third grade was when I had my first panic attack. “Two more weeks until the start of school” my mother gleefully sang as she passed me in the living room with the mail for the day. Our supply lists for the coming school year had just arrived. Suddenly, the room got smaller and I felt my chest tightening. I thought I was going to die. I squeezed behind the huge red chair which smelled of moth balls in the fetal position and covered my head until I was called for dinner. I have no idea how long I was there, but all I can remember thinking was How did this happen, how did this happen, where is summer, where did it go?

After this episode, I was slightly obsessed with passage of time.  Christmas came too quickly, so did High School and College, and crows feet. Not to mention, I never felt I quiet matched time. While it has always gone racing ahead of me, I’ve struggled to catch up–it takes me too long to loose weight and I miss out on fun opportunities to due a lack of self-confidence and self-esteem, but when I finally get in shape and have those, the times for those types of fun are gone (same with loving myself and finding someone to love me in return), or finally running at the right pace that I want to for my height and weight.


For as much as I hate the dreadmill, it is a useful tool when trying to get ahold of the time you want. Time trials are great. According to Runner’s, a Time Trial is “simply a chance to measure your current level of performance against the clock. Just choose a distance, measure it out on the roads, then run it as fast as you can. Once you’ve finished, check your watch – your time is your benchmark. After two weeks of solid training, try the same run again and see how much you’ve improved.” Basically, it’s charting. I’m speaking to you, chart nerds!  You’re going to love this–empirical evidence of your improvement–bazinga!

Then, there are “fartleks”, “speed play”, or “pick-ups”. These allow you to break up your run into segments. I usually do a 20 minute run into 10–2 minute intervals. These alternate from comfortably fast to “holy crap I can just barely breath” fast.

Regardless of what time you are trying to pace if you’re doing a long run, or doing something of the above, it seems there’s a point where you just want to stop. This is where the trainer says that evil phrase … You can do anything for two minutes….  which is a big, fat lie.  But, in place of arguing the point or getting annoyed yet again, here are some things you CAN do in 2 minutes:

  • Drink a 16 ounce soft drink (and then belch)
  • Announce the winning lotto numbers
  • Listen to the responses for Final Jeopardy
  • Brush your teeth for the ADA recommended time
  • Pop a bag of microwave popcorn (perfectly) without burning it
  • Make 2 boxes of Minute Rice
  • Write this list

This link will lead you to a pleasent site that intends to help you organize your life. Here, tips are listed for 31 things to do in 1 minutes or less: While doing research for stuff you can do, I thought some were so adorable I wanted to add them all (also, a nod to my Type A personality).

30 Seconds you say? See below:

  • Give someone a hug
  • High Five!
  • Kiss passionately
  • Respond to the Final Jeopardy
  • Warm a Bagel Bite

The lists could go on. Point is, the trainer has a point. I had  friend once ask me why I ran because he found it a “waste of time.” He went on to add “I’d feel like I would be missing everything out running all by myself. I’d want to be doing things.” To me, I am out doing things. This is my thing. I can be out doing anything for 2 minutes. That blank isn’t hard to fill in which is why the metaphor is weak. The point is you are there, you’ve chosen to be there, suffering, dripping in sweat, wishing death on those more toned around you, cursing the hands of time for moving so effortlessly slow, until you leave that room/place and you’re in a panic because you’ve notice another sunspot on your face when you glance in at your reflection in your review mirror.

Anyone can do anything* for 2 minutes. It’s what you choose to do with it that matters … pepperoni-prod (bad decision).


Anything- pronoun- Used to refer to a thing; mostly used incorrectly by trainers to emphasize their pride in your wise choices of trusting them and working so hardly.


One Response to “You can do anything for 2 minutes.”

  1. Emily July 31, 2013 at 12:04 pm #

    I totally get that feeling of time passing too quickly and feeling panicky about that! As far as running, the end of my run last night was definitely one of those “suffering, dripping in sweat” moments where my watch could not go any slower. It was supposed to be an easy run! *sigh* Against all odds, the two minutes DID finally pass, and it felt great (to be finished) :).

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