As simple as this is, I have found this concept applicable in all realms of fitness. A huge barrier to overcome at any point on a fitness journey is discouragement. Now, some discouragement happens, it just does. But, I believe some can be prevented.
During every organized race I have ever run there are people that immediately pass me. They speed past me like they are being chased and all I can think is, “see you soon”. I know that is terrible, but, it really is true. There are many people that are genuinely faster than I am. However, this is not the group that I am talking about. Let’s say you train to run a half at a 9:30 pace. Sure, race day is exciting and the thrill can make you do a bit more than you normally can. Be that is it may, I am pretty sure jumping from a 9:30 pace to an 8:00 pace is not realistic. So…five miles down the road, I see them again. And, they are discouraged (and often times walking). Just a thought, but, start at a 9:30 pace, if at mile five you feel great, pick it up to a 9:15 and then at ten miles if you still feel great, by all means pour on the steam. It is 100% more satisfying to end strong and fast, then, to have to walk and feel the discouragement weigh you down. I say again, don’t start hard.
Tonight I took a weight lifting class at my local gym. I picked him out right away. He was clearly new to this class and had his girlfriend with him – a new relationship if I am guessing correctly. He loaded his bar up with more weight than anyone else in the class. His girlfriend tried to talk him into putting less weight on his bar and, of course, he had none of it. “Babe, I’ve GOT this”. Just like the organized race scenario, I saw him soon. By the end of the class he was very discouraged and, after taking MULTIPLE breaks, was lifting virtually the same amount of weight I was lifting. Now, he absolutely is stronger than I am and could have lifted more. But the problem is, when discouragement creeps into your mind, it is a hard thing to turn off. Don’t start hard. He could have started off with a reasonable weight and built up to using heavier weights for squats, bench press, etc. Appropriate weights.
So, I will leave you with this. Tomorrow, in whatever form you choose to pursue your fitness goals, don’t start hard. Thank your body by starting off reasonably and then when you are warm, press yourself harder than you would have.