Tuesday, 5 November 2013

Learning to 'live in uncomfortable'

It’s been quite a while since my last post, and a lot of water has passed under the bridge since then. Following a successful first season, I took what I felt to be a well-earned break! After 10 months of being more disciplined than I ever have been before, and for large periods of time living like a monk, I was more than ready to let my hair down. Never have 30 days passed so quickly! After eating like a king and drinking like a fish, book-ended by a stag do in Ibiza and a wedding in Italy, the first session back was borderline inhumane. I’ve now been back in training for a month, and the intensity is really starting to ramp up. The sessions are longer, harder, and more focussed, than anything I’ve done before, and I walk away from each session convinced it’s the hardest session I’ve ever done; that is, until the next one! I think only now do I truly understand the demands of being an athlete, and getting home and barely having the energy to get to the top of the stairs before I crawl into bed is becoming a familiar sensation. What I’ve discovered is that previously, too often I found a way to cheat, to make things that little bit easier for myself, so that whilst I was still working hard, it wasn’t quite the limit of my ability. No more! My coach told me that I needed to learn to ‘live in uncomfortable’, that I’ll never find it easy, as it will always be progressing to a higher standard and a more demanding schedule. Philosophically, it’s quite a hard message to assimilate, to truly believe that you’re ready to hurt that much for that long, and then go back and do it all over again the next day. It means that I’m concentrating increasingly on accepting the pain is going to come, and pushing through it. I’m fairly certain that everyone has a mental or physical limit, but I wonder how many people ever find it. I know I’m certainly not there yet; when doing six 150m runs last week, I fell to my knees, seeing spots after doing the fifth run, convinced that I couldn’t take another step. But, after barked encouragement/admonishment from my coach, I was back up on my feet and finishing the last run, although there was something of the outer body experience about it! I know that if I’d been on my own, I would have stopped before that last run, and having someone there to remind you what you said you wanted to achieve, and knowing what it is you need to do to get there, is an enormous help. The indoor season starts again exactly 2 months today, and I’m really looking forward to measuring the improvements that I feel I’ve made so far this winter. By then I’m hoping to be about 5kg lighter, and have a much more polished and fluid running style. I’ll hopefully find the time for another update before then, but in the meantime, the likelihood is I’ll be bent over, drenched in sweat, hopefully progressing and living up to my potential. 

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