Inside and Outside My Head
Run 1 mile for time
2 minutes max single unders
1 minute rest
2 minutes max double unders
I want to share something that took place over the last week or so. Last week, On Monday, I found myself struggling pretty hard in a workout, both physically and mentally. Let’s say that in the continuum of my training, I am not at one of my peaks right now.
One interesting thing I noticed, though, was that I kept saying two things to myself in my head — “I haven’t recovered from my vacation” and “I’m in no shape for the Games.” Over and over and over. As long as I was repeating those two declarations, I suffered. Every now and then I was able to stop myself and say “OK, and what if this workout isn’t about ‘recovery’ from your vacation or about competing in the Games? What if it’s just this workout, today?” At that moment I could pick up that bar and move, without all the additional suffering. Then, sooner or later, I would slip back into the two “mantras.” Back and forth.
I was pretty frustrated about my training in general after that workout. A day or two later I had a talk with Kenny, the team coach (sometimes I gotta get coached, too) and he gave me some suggestions about getting myself together. One of the suggestions was to do some workouts without paying attention to the clock, and to do some untimed runs, just to get my wind back. So on Tuesday of this week, that’s just what I did. It was a perfect workout — an AMRAP for 20 minutes — nowhere to get. In class, I didn’t open up my training bag and pull out “compete.” I pulled out “train.” I took my focus off of the number of rounds I’d get, and moved, toeing the edge of my cliff, as it exists right now. Actually just respecting where I was.
The most important thing I got (aside from getting through the workout) was the experience. Instead of worrying about a whole workout, I just did a rep at a time. It’s amazing how easy it is to get through a dozen kettlebell swings when you’re just doing one, then another, then another. Since there was nowhere I had to get, there was nowhere I had to be — nothing to be frustrated about. I was just training my body and the score at the end was just information about what happened, not about me.
Now, the things I was saying to myself during that first workout weren’t irrelevant, they were just out of context. Since coming back, my conditioning is diminished; that is true. I am also not, currently, in shape for competition. But if the context is “what’s the next step?,” there’s something to do, somewhere to go. If it’s “you suck” all there is to do is suffer. I’ll get the workout either way, but one is going to have me excited to be here next time, and one is not, simple as that.