Thursday, November 14, 2013

Why do we do this?

As many of us are approaching the off-season for triathlon, it is time to evaluate how the season went, relax for a bit, and begin to set a schedule and goals for next season.  Also, many people during this time start to ask themselves, "Do I want to put myself through this again?"  All the hours of training, fatigue, lack of a social life, the list goes on that comes with this territory of being a triathlete can be both mentally and physically exhausting. 

Why did they crawl?
It is during these times of questioning that we should really look within ourselves and ask the question, "WHY AM I DOING THIS?"

Some people may know the answer.  Others may struggle a bit longer before finding it, but everyone has a reason for doing this, otherwise...

What would be the point? 

What would get you through the difficult days and workouts?

What would force you to not press snooze one more time and miss 5:30am Master's Swim?

What would make you put on your running shoes after a long/crappy day at work to go do that interval track workout that no one really likes doing anyways?

What keeps your legs turning on a trainer after two hours of staring at a TV or computer screen?

If your reason for doing this is better than your reason for not doing this, then the above answers will be easy to answer.  However, if it is not, then this journey and season will be difficult.

Recently, I had an old friend give me a call and ask me to help him start a basic fitness plan consisting of cardio and weight lifting.  I was very excited to help him get started, because it was not too long ago that I was just getting started with fitness.  However, after a week, he came back to me saying that he was only able to motivate himself to go to the gym twice in the last week and wasn't able to get through the whole workout. 

I replied that it was fine and completely understandable especially when starting a new program.  I told him to go again tomorrow and see how it goes.  Again, he came back and said that he was barely able to convince himself to go and wasn't able to convince himself to complete the entire workout.  I told him again to just keep at it and it would get easier once he got into a rhythm of going.

The next day, I get a message saying, "Went for 15 minutes today and came home very frustrated..."

It was at this point that I was beginning to get a bit frustrated as well.  I asked him, "Why are you doing this?"  He had a great answer to why.  I then asked, "Then why is it hard to go?"  This time he did not have a good answer. 

It was at this point that we started talking about how important the WHY is.  Again, if there is not a strong enough vision, goal, or reason, then you will not be able to push through those tough days.  He then asked me, "What gets you through those tough days?  Why do you do it?"

After thinking for a short few seconds, I replied, "I think I do this for two main reasons.  The first is very basic and on the surface.  The second goes a bit deeper."

1.  One reason that I love the sport of triathlon and endurance sports in general is that it gives me the means by which to continue competing at a high level against others who truly want to be better than me.  This stems from my life as a multiple sport athlete and college soccer player.  I really started getting into this after my college soccer career when there was a void left due to the lack of competitions.  The indoor rec leagues simply weren't satisfying this. 

It comes down to the fact that I simply love to push myself as hard as I can against the best that I can meet.  I simply missed competing, and this satisfied that need.

2.  The second reason that I do this is Simple but yet can go a bit deeper: it is because I can.  When I really think about it, I am so blessed to be able to go out every day and exercise.  To be able to physically swim, bike, run, and strength train, without any restrictions is truly a gift in itself.  There are so many people out there that do not have that ability.  When I am having a tough day or workout, I think of those people and how they would kill to be in my shoes.  If we are not using our bodies to the best of their abilities, then we are not only shaming those who cannot, but we are shaming ourselves as well.

I think of people like the Hoyt's and Jon Blais who are doing more than I can possibly comprehend.  If they can wake up to do this, why can't I?  If they are strong enough, I need to be.  If they can push themselves through the tough days, then I would be doing them and all others a disservice by not trying.

This is what I told my friend.  And I shared these videos with him.  Please watch them as well.  Isn't as hard to stay motivated after.  As I go through this winter season, I will be battling motivation everyday as will everyone.  I will need to continue to find the answer to the question, "Why should I keep doing this?" 
“The thing I’d most like, is that my dad sit in the chair and I push him once.” - Rick Hoyt.

1 comment:

  1. Both videos are very cool but the 2nd video is awesome!