Sunday, January 22, 2012

No Judgments. Just Go.

I got on my bike today for the first time in a week. That’s on unusual these days. In an effort to allow myself some rest/cross-training and mental refreshment, I’ve taken a more multi-sport approach to my workouts. One day of running, another of Insanity, another of biking, sometimes just walking for the day. And rest.

So to be out on my bike this morning felt new and fun. And because I have not cranked out countless workouts on it recently, I started the workout without any expectations. During the first few minutes of the ride, a phrase came to mind: “No Judgments. Just Ride.” And it got me thinking…

Despite my experience and my various athletic trades, there are times when I don’t want to put on my shoes and go out for a run. And it’s not because I’m being lazy. It’s because I’m scared.

Yes. Scared. It is hard to admit, but sometimes I don’t want to go out for a run because … what if I’m bad at it? What if I run slower than normal? What if it’s a ‘bad run’?

There are some of you that will shake your head at these irrationalities and hyper-intense insecurities. But I’m sharing because I know there are others out there who have tiny voices that say, “Yeah, me too.”

Even though it’s just one workout. And even though it is for no one else but myself. And even though, in the larger scheme of life it is only a tiny action … there is, sometimes, this threatening mass of “failure” that can hover just on the edge of my mind. As if making the decision to put on my shoes and go out for a run opens the door for that possibility in all of its seemingly-but-not-really fatal power.

Maybe it’s that we are a little more sensitive than normal. Or that we push ourselves harder than anyone could ever push us. That there is some ill-forged and misunderstood cause/effect relationship between berating ourselves and achieving what we set out to do. In other words, if I beat myself up enough, then of course I will work harder, do better, achieve more and … then what?

If I step back – as an athlete and as a coach – and follow that train of thought, it gets derailed. As it should! Because it is a train of thought full of judgment and lacks compassion. And for me, it is the exact opposite of why I run and bike and swim and walk.

So on my bike today I told myself this – yes, consciously I spoke to myself: “No Judgments. Just Go.” I will, for this week, run without judgment of myself. Bike without expectations. Follow through my Insanity program without worrying about tangible progress. It’s not a matter of taking a more “relaxed” approach. It’s a matter of ceasing my concern of being judged – most importantly, by myself.

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