If you’ve read this blog for longer than, say, a week, then you know how much I stress the importance of taking care of our bodies. You know how much I believe giving our bodies ample rest and not driving them hard every workout plays into that. I practice that whole heartedly. Every week I have a rest day. I stretch well on a daily basis. I make a point to get enough sleep. Yet this past week something occurred to me.
Have I been underestimating my efforts in the name of “playing it safe”?
I’m sure many have heard this well-known quote:
In order to reach new levels in our fitness journeys and achieve the positive changes we desire in our goals for health or new achievements, we simply have to push ourselves out of our comfort zones a bit. We have to change up our exercise “status quo”.
During my training runs last week, I went into most expecting much less of myself.
I scrapped my planned tempo run to go for a comfortable paced one. And comfortable ended up with an average 8:44 minute per mile pace that felt extraordinarily easy.
I anticipated my first 16 miles with a bit of anxiety and nervousness. I even strapped my Garmin in a difficult to glance at manner, so I could run completely based on feel. I ended up with a very strong finish, a GREAT run (despite the wind and hills), and a pace 20 seconds per mile faster than I always deemed safe for a long run. Yet, I ended with energy in the tank and nary a sore muscle the next day.
I did some impromptu speed work on the treadmill and ended each interval feeling barely worked.
I felt 100% comfortable in each and every workout. Good thing? Or am I underestimating myself?
In training for my first full marathon, I know that simply achieving new levels of mileage each week overall and each new long run is more than sufficient change and successful movement toward my goals. My goal for my first marathon lies in simply getting in the miles and crossing the finish line strong. I would rather play it overly safe than push my body too much and end up injured. However, my recent training really got me thinking.
How often do we limit achieving new heights because we don’t believe we can?
How often do we let doubt and fear override our capabilities?
Do we limit ourselves in the name of “playing it safe”?
I am all for having realistic goals and approaching them in a smart manner. But maybe ignoring what our bodies tell us they are capable of doing isn’t so smart either. Maybe we need to believe in what our bodies tell us…and then get out of our own way.
What do you think? Are there ways you feel you don’t push yourself, but know deep down you could?