My new found fear
Over the last ten years of my life I have been an extreme exerciser. I was sitting down thinking about this the other day and I thought I would try to figure out how many hours I have done, after an honest assessment I worked out that I have done over 11,500 hours of exercise in this time! I’ve raced Ironman triathlon to a high level, had days where I taught 6 classes at the gym and I’ve completed training weeks where I exercised for over 60 hours at high intensities.
But something really interesting happened to me a few months ago, I got afraid of doing exercise! Let me explain, I stopped competing in Ironman around 18 months ago and after pulling away from triathlon I decided to change my focus away from the swimming and cycling aspects of triathlon. I wanted to have some physical challenges that didn’t take up so much of my time so I got back into the weights room, did some yoga and competed in some running events. But a few months ago I decided to do the Challenge Wanaka Half Ironman as something fun to train for over summer.
Once I had signed up for the race the fear overwhelmed me. For some reason I was scared of doing the training for this event. I found that I doubted if I could complete a three hour training ride, something that was easy for me 18 months earlier. My mind was full of doubt and I found myself skipping sessions and losing focus for this race.
This experience gave me an insight into how a lot of people must think about exercise in general. When we first stop doing exercise we think we’ll get back into it in a couple weeks - but the longer we leave it the more unrealistic we become about how hard it is. It’s like exercise has grown into this big scary monster that we are afraid to confront, and the longer we leave it the bigger and scarier it gets.
The way I broke down these fears was to start small and build from there. I did an hour training ride, then a two hour ride and in no time I was back up to over three hours wondering what I had been worried about.
Don’t be afraid, get out there and do something, your big scary monster will disappear.