Learning to train on my own
So I am now back in Australia, unemployed and basically kind of homeless (living out of a suitcase until the end of March 2014 anyway). I had these visions of what I would do with all the time I would have once I was not working and how I would be able to jump out of bed everyday and train whenever I wanted and I would be so fit, and feeling so great. Well..it’s turned out to be not quite as easy as I had imagined.
I am very lucky as my family are being super supportive and encouraging and helping me to train everyday. I have a 25m pool less than 2km from the house, access to unlimited bike and running tracks, and a huge number of gyms to choose from in the area. I have been doing all my training sessions and putting in the hours (well ok I may have missed a few), but something is different, for the first time since I started this journey I am doing all of this alone. No-one to meet up with, no scheduled training sessions with a group waiting for me, no smiles or hi’s (or hugs) from familiar faces out on the tracks, no compliments on a good session, or support for my improvements and no-one to benchmark against – except myself.
I am having to push through every session alone with only my own voice, and the aches and pains seem worse, every training session seems harder and longer than I remember. I even started to ask myself what am I doing this for, what’s the point, and my times seem slower, my body weaker? I have realised that I had come to enjoy my new-found passion through training with others, and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that, but at the same time perhaps I was doing this sport not because I really loved it, but because it was a chance to be accepted by a group of people and because it made me interesting to some others. When you take that away, you have to really ask yourself if this is really what you want to be doing, and what is your real goal.
Well I have been thinking about it long and hard, and I’m doing all this training and racing because I believe it is making me a better person. Triathlon makes me feel strong, in control, capable, confident. Everything I put in to it, I get back in full – it never lies. It has also taught me to be more relaxed about the little things, to pace myself, maintain a strong composure at all times and be in the present moment. I absolutely love training with others, particularly those who know me, and have been with me on this journey since the beginning – but most importantly now I need to know that I can do this alone – that I can self-motivate.
I guess deep down I knew this was coming, and hence why I signed up for the Eagleman Ironman 70.3 in Cambridge MD in June of this year. The momentum towards that race will keep me going, while I learn to adjust to training without my motivators of the last year. For now I just need to get through this period of change and adjustment – and hopefully on the other side I will be a better athlete and an even better person. Between now and June I will be thinking long and hard about my next goal – stay tuned, it’s sure to be a big one…