... my journey from ballerina to triathlete

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Digging for Motivation

I've been writing upbeat post after upbeat post, bursting with excitement about being able to work out again and focusing on how good it feels each time and I do. And, while everything I have written is true, it's time to admit that there is more to the story. Much as I loathe admitting when I'm falling short, what good is a training blog if I am not honest with myself and my readers about the ups and downs of training? So here it is:

I am feeling lazy, weak, and unmotivated!

I keep trying to convince myself that I am excited to re-start my training -- and indeed I am, in theory -- but I am feeling massively overwhelmed and because of this I am failing completely at getting myself out the door and onto my feet (or bike). The more I think about the root of my motivation problem, the more several particular issues come up, and they are as follows.

1. Lack of time
Since I have started work, finding time to work out is much more difficult than it was when I was training before. Starting work at 7:30am with a thirty minute commute makes it nearly impossible to do my workouts in the morning, which is the time I prefer. This excuse is only somewhat valid, however, because it doesn't explain my laziness on weekends, when I have all the time in the world but somehow still find myself using it to sit on the couch rather than on a bike saddle.

2. Habit
They say that it takes three weeks (twenty-one days) to form a new habit. After four months of daily workouts and frequent two-a-days, I had my training habits firmly set. Now I have had approximately sixty days of inactivity due to my injury, and much as I'm trying to overcome it, I'm finding that that habit seems to have taken quite a strong hold in my life.

3. Weakness and Lack of Confidence
Perhaps the most valuable thing I gained throughout my training has been a level of confidence in myself that I didn't know was possible before. Unfortunately, I think that my confidence is also the most important thing I have lost during my injury. When I think about getting started on my training again, I feel incredibly overwhelmed. The swimming and the running don't bother me, for some reason. Swimming is relaxing for me, and although it does make me tired, it never feels impossible to me like running or cycling can. There is something about that extreme and acute muscle burn that intimidates me more than swimming. Running, however, isn't a problem for me either, because I am not allowed to run yet. Walking is easy. Cycling, however, is scaring me. The bike workouts were hard here when I very first moved here, and I was in shape then! There is nothing but hills, hills, and more hills, and if they were difficult when I was in good shape they must be damn near impossible now that my legs are made of jelly. I am actually scared.

So what do I do? How do I move past this?

To deal with the first problem, I just stop making excuses. I do have the time, it's simply a matter of whether or not training is what I want to do with that time, and if I want to complete the triathlon in November and even longer distances after that, then the answer to that quandary must be that it is. No more questions. As far as the habit problem, that is just a fact that I will have to deal with. It is not habit. I keep expecting it to come back and magically feel like it did before I got hurt, when training was a natural part of each day and I never questioned its presence in my life, but the fact is that the habit is gone and for a while (twenty-one days, according to Science), every single day of training is going to be hard. That doesn't mean I shouldn't do it!

Elevation maps that scare the shit out of me and my blubbery legs
Finally, tackling the most complicated problem, I have to get my confidence back. Since I'm feeling so overwhelmed by returning to my old training haunts, I think that the best way to get started cycling again is to take my bike down the mountain and do my workouts in new, unfamiliar areas that have no memories (or fears) attached to them. Luckily for me, these unfamiliar areas also happen to be much less hill-infested than the geography around my house. I think that once I can ride these comfortably and feel good about my fitness, it will be much easier to try tackling tougher rides again. I know that my confidence is still in there somewhere. It's just going to take little dedication to get it back.

So there's my plan:
1. Re-commit to my training and stop thinking about how much time it takes up.
2. Stop waiting for the idea of a workout to feel natural.
3. Start in unfamiliar and new places.

I remember how it felt to be strong and confident in myself and my abilities. I want that again, and in order to get it back, I'm going to have to wade through my insecurities all over again. But that's what training is, right -- facing your weaknesses and finding your strength?

No comments:

Post a Comment