This post applies to life just as much as it does to training although one can also say that staying fit should be a part of your life anyways!
Although I always preach to change your routine on a regular basis because your body has an amazing ability to adapt to whatever you throw at it, it is sometimes necessary to completely throw out your routine and do something you have never done before.
The only way to grow physically, mentally and spiritually is to live on the edge of comfort and discomfort. You get too comfortable, and you get complacent, lazy and take things for granted. It is an entitlement attitude. You get too uncomfortable and you may be throwing caution into the wind and risk injury. That is why I say to live on the edge rather than the extreme.
Dan Stevens once said ‘The comfort zone is the great enemy to creativity (i.e. growth); moving beyond it necessitates intuition, which in turn configures new perspectives and conquers fears’.
I always operate outside my comfort zone at work otherwise I get bored. The ‘same ole same ole’ feels like the movie Groundhog Day. I always change my workout routines in the gym as well, knowing my body adapts and gets bored of doing the same thing.
So I recently decided to really step out of my comfort zone and do something that I absolutely hate, despise, and avoid. I know it will be good for me in the end while I will hate every minute of it as I get started. I am hoping that at some point I will start accepting it and later actually like it!
This thing is called running! Yes, I hate it. I was never any good at it. My cardio conditioning sucks although I spin on the bike five days a week. It is worse when I run. So this past weekend I decided to start a running regimen in the hopes that by the end of the year I will do a race. Not to compete against anyone else, it is to compete with me, my mind and body!
Using running as an example of where the fine line is between comfort zone and discomfort zone, I am not shooting for a marathon or even a half marathon. To me, something on the edge would be a 5K or 10K run. This will be quite an accomplishment seeing that I have never run 5 miles CUMULATIVELY in my life!
You see my knees are shot from Olympic lifting. Although it is a reason why I don’t like running I will not use it as an excuse as to why I shouldn’t run. At almost 57 years of age, I know this is something that when done properly, will help me in many ways, physically and mentally.
It will conquer my fear of running for starters. After all I do get an athletic ‘high’ from intense resistance exercising, maybe I can see what the runners ‘high’ is all about that I have read over the years!?
My second run/jog attempt on a treadmill (road work will come later, baby steps my friend, baby steps) had me hitting more than 5K within an hour. I also did it at a 3% incline. Why 3%? Why an incline at all? Because I felt like it! You see I don’t have to have a specific reason for every little thing that I do as should you!
My goal is to hit a nice moderate 5K on the road by June-July time frame. At that point I will see if I want to go for a 10K by December (just finishing one out) or a 5K where I really work on speed and time.
Only time will tell but I can tell you that my mind is already responding. It is getting over the fear of running. It is looking forward to the next run to see how far/fast I can go. I am paying close attention to my knees, not going crazy but also not babying it by any means.
So whatever it is that you physically always wanted to do or avoid, I say go for it. You never know, it may become your next great fitness routine as you strive to be….Fit Forlife!