A couple of weeks ago, I dropped out of a *big* running event. It's plagued me ever since. Largely because I am obscenely competitive (I once joined the Army because some people bigger and stronger than me told me I couldn't), but also because I can't really put my finger on exactly why I dropped out. I mean, there were several factors influencing my decision: it was cold (it had snowed the day before) and I was genuinely concerned I might catch hypothermia while I waited to fling myself over obstacles. Which probably means you now know exactly what I dropped out of. Damn. Also, I had hay-fever. Also I'd maybe eaten a bit of gluten the night before and felt a bit funny. I am hashtag gluten free, you see.
I emailed the organisers (I know, HUGE cop-out) around 6am, cited my excuses and went back to sleep. Pretty peacefully, I might add. But since then, it's bothered me. How could I have been so pathetic? Who am I? What have I become? In retaliation, I've subjected my body to all manner of runs and HIIT routines and cardio classes, with a view to proving I obviously could have done it had conditions been A-OK. Which, yes, makes me a fair-weather fitness freak. Which is something I hate. And also just proves how useless I was being that day it turned out to be a blissfully beautiful day with barely any pollen count and zero gluten discomfort.
So just incase you're like me and manage to psyche yourself out of things for absolutely-not-legitimate reasons, here's my tips for getting out the door...
1. Look the part. They say all the gear no idea, and it's true. On some subliminal level, if you look like the athlete you're pretending to be, you might just start believing it. We're visual creatures, mostly.
2. Find a training buddy. It's easy to let yourself down. Less easy to bail on a friend - so pick one you're slightly afraid of/is militant about sticking to plans/knows where you live...
3. Pack the night before an event. If you can just get up and go, there's less opportunity to make excuses. My mother taught me this. I stoically ignored her advice until I trained at Sandhurst - then realised that if I made my bed the night before and slept on the floor, I could get 10 minutes extra sleep before room inspection. Genius. Or perhaps a bit ridiculous. But it worked.
4. Get social about it. Nothing like the social shame of admitting defeat to motivate you. Tweet away. And be honest.
5. Be kind to yourself. Listen to your body and adjust workouts accordingly. If you bully yourself, you'll be miserable, and it'll be harder to get out the door the next time - it's a slippery little slope. Try to enjoy your workouts.
6. Set goals - Like races/events. If you're willy nilly-ing it, you're way more likely to pass on a session than if you have an aim. And a concept of how much more it'll hurt if you don't put the training in.
7. Don't stop. Just like on a run, once you stop it's way harder to start. Find your pace and just go. You can slow down (or do lower intensity work, depending on which analogy you're using here), but keep plodding along. As the girl in Finding Nemo said, just keep swimming.
8. Believe in yourself. You're stronger than you think! No harm in getting out of your comfort zone. Just try - better to try and fail than not to try at all.
Obviously I am a massive hypocrite and should go hang my head in shame. I'll do better next time...
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