Make Your World Bigger

(Article written for City Fitness - February's national newsletter).

It's a great experience to find a new challenge.  The journey starts, and you find yourself setting off with enthusiasm and aspirations of enjoying a fresh experience.

As time progresses you achieve those PB's that occur the first time you do something.  'High fives' all round, and you bask in the glow of your efforts.  The following season you gain new PB's.  You are faster.  You are fitter.  You are smarter.  And this is great.  Then more the next time around, with your knowledge and fitness growing.  While the times are beaten by a smaller margin than expected, and your climb up the results standings has plateaued, you are still into this sport, as you are getting good at something.

The following year you set out…again.  That sentiment is one that may play on you at times.  The 'known circuits' for your bike or run, may on occasion be seen as the same tired training session.  You may at times just go through the motions, and the anticipation you once had for the following day's workout is possibly long gone.  If this occurs, then you are in a rut.

When you experience something new your world is expanded.  You are on a steep learning curve, and all around you are opportunities to get better.  Later however, you may need to be pouring extra hours each week into (for example) your cycle training, in the hope that you can shave minutes off your race times.  At some point this can get old.  If it does get old, then it gets old really quickly, and you can go off the boil mentally.  Burnout is possible.

The above information is just as relevant to those who do not participate in races.  In some situations it can be even more relevant, as each week may become like any other.  There are steps you can take however that may assist you in recharging your enthusiasm.

A few tips…
- If you find yourself viewing exercise differently, then ask yourself why this may be happening.  (For example, is the lunchtime run no longer an escape from work, and instead is viewed as a chore??).
- If you experience resentment for needing to train to get to the start line of a race, then assess your higher goals for the event.  (Why did you set out on this journey??).
- If you find yourself not taking a break after events because you'll "lose fitness", then it may be a sign that you are attempting to squeeze out every ounce of enjoyment from a once cherished past time.  (Again - Why did you set out on this journey??).

In 2009 I finished the Graperide Ultimate (505km) race and found myself a bit burnt out.  The desire to sit on a bike all day was gone, and I wondered what was wrong.  So with just eight months noticed I entered and trained for the Taupo Ironman event.  The experience was a very special one, and it is safe to say I later returned to endurance cycling with recharged enthusiasm for my chosen sport.

If you find yourself struggling for enthusiasm, then try something new.  The new pursuit will take the pressure off you, will make exercise fun again, and most importantly will probably put the smile back on your face.

Enjoy the opportunities that exist in 2013 - The year can be a great one for you, and you have the ability to reach your goals.

Ride safe.



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