Thursday, April 23, 2009

It’s all about the things you hate.

For many people this post will be a "Duh" moment. But for me this change has been the one thing that has had a huge impact on my training and the way I perform. What is this "thing"? Doing the things you hate the most, consistently in your training. Pretty simple idea Right? I think We all have heard this and deep down we know it is true. I have always heard this since running in middle school, but it wasn't until I truly was honest with myself and committed to doing these things, that I saw massive improvements in my fitness.

Personally in my own training one huge example of this is the Long Run. I have always HATED longs runs, they take forever, you chug along at a slow pace, and lets just face it no one likes to run long. In high school I remember my coaches sending me out on long runs, and usually one other teammate and myself would instead run for about 30 min then go play with some random object we found in the woods that day. At this point in my life I was not that hot on the whole running thing, and could care less on how I performed.

As I got older and out of high school I suddenly had this desire to push myself , and see what kind of fitness I could achieve. I started to train very hard, but I still was not honest with myself. I still avoided the long run! Excuses like, it does not fit into my schedule this week, I am feeling tired or sick, or purposefully procrastinating so I would not have time to complete a run of longer distance, were all things I was guilty of. At this time I was running well, but was still far from the goals I had set for myself. Finally I made a promise with myself. I wrote out my training schedule at the beginning of every week, and decided that every Wednesday over the winter was going to be a long day, NO MATTER WHAT. From that point on I have run long almost every Wednesday over the last 5 months. That first 15 miles I can honestly say, WERE HELL! But every Wednesday after that got a little easier each time.

From that point on a strange thing has happened, I now LOVE my long runs on Wednesdays. I find myself sitting in class anxious to leave so I can get home and run long. The feeling of tackling something I avoided, hated, and was honestly a little afraid of also made me realize I could take on other mountains that stood in the way of my goals.

Another thing I always feared was the water.Even as a little kid I never completed swimming lessons because I was afraid of swimming laps. When I first started swimming again, I was about as bad as they come. Again it came to a point where I had to be honest with myself. I knew swimming with others would make me better. Sometimes you don't want people to see you being horrible at a certain sport, and I got caught up in my pride. It was the day I gave in and swam with other people that I truly started to see improvement! We build up thoughts in our head that people will laugh at us when we are bad at something, so we train alone in secret, thinking eventually we will get good enough to train with others. It was all in my head. All my fellow Tri-fusion teammates were all very sportive, and pushed me to be better at swimming. I have seen huge improvements in my swimming and I owe it all to the people I swim with week in and week out. I am in no means a fast swimmer, and still have lots of room for improvement. But the fact that I went after something I feared and conquered it, was probably one of the best feelings I have ever felt.

Why did I post this long boring Blog? These were two examples of things I avoided in my training, but once I made a commitment to get better at them, I saw huge improvements. For some people they hate hills, others just hate one sport of triathlon in particular. It does not matter what you hate or are afraid of, what matters is that you are honest with yourself in these areas and make a firm commitment to improve on them. Everyone has aspects of training that they HATE. But I promise if you commit to getting better at these, you will become a better athlete. So I challenge you today to be honest with yourself, and commit to tackling those things you hate in your training. I promise it will pay off in the larger picture of you as an athlete!


Spokane Al said...

That is a great lesson and a fine reminder Josh. Thanks.

jessithompson said...

I love this post, Hoshberry. This is the ONLY reason I do kick sets in swimming. I hate them. I need them. I know it's one of the keys to getting better for me.

I used to HATE one-legged drills on the bike. Turns out I hated them because my pedal stroke sucked and that's what made them so hard... kept doing them, kept doing them and made a lot of improvement.

Amazing how that works! Thanks for the reminder. Great post - I love the part where you talk about getting honest with yourself. That's where it all starts.

Matt said...

Great read,thanks Josh.. Swimming is a hard one for me as well, since not matter how good ya are it hurts more than anything, if it doesnt you aint swimming hard enough..
I used to HATE running, all running, even to the front door if someone was there..Now I cant wait to head to the track, well..or on to the trails to get my ass kicked!

Great POST!