Man! Motivation is hard to harness!
I seem to feel it intensely at the most unfortunate moments: When I see a runner while driving, I want nothing more than to hop out of the car and join her. When I get home — eh. When I talk to friends about my next race, I get so excited, I want to leave whatever social engagement I’m at and go train for it. When it’s just me and the pool, or me and the road — eh.
Regular blog readers know I’ve struggled mightily to find motivation to train for the Great Chesapeake Bay Swim One-Mile Bay Challenge on June 14 (as in, less than two weeks from now). I trained hard and finished well last year, which has actually been problematic — I don’t have the fear factor I did last year, when I wasn’t sure I could do it without getting picked up by a kayaker.
Here’s what helped me get my groove on in the pool yesterday:
I had a plan. I decided before I hit the pool that I’d do a 20-minute timed swim, then alternate 300 free with 200 IM until I reached 3,000 yards. All freestyle done with a pull buoy. I also decided I would lift, using the Bosu balance trainer for legs and abs. I even printed out my intended workouts — not because I couldn’t remember them, but because I needed to keep myself honest.This helped immensely, as I didn’t just show up and do what felt comfortable.
I held myself accountable. It’s one thing to do a 20-minute timed swim. It’s another to know how many yards you squeezed in three weeks ago (1,225), and want badly to beat that. I checked my watch when I hit the 500 mark to find that 11 minutes had passed. Gah! I picked up the pace — so much so, I worried I’d somehow reset the timer. I got in a 1,450 with a pull buoy, which made me very happy.
I got my head in the right place before I started. I work at home, which means I have the blessing of setting my own schedule. Like most blessings, this is also a curse. When no one tells you when to start and stop working, you sort of feel like you should NEVER stop working, and I feel an incredible amount of guilt when I take time to drive to the pool, put in a workout and then drive home. Yesterday, I decided that if all I’m going to do is feel guilty about my workout, it’s pointless to even do it. That permission reset something in my head.
I fed off others’ positivity. After whining to Steve for weeks about how I’ve sabotaged my chances of a fast finish at the Bay Bridge Swim with months of lackadaisical training, he pointed out that, yes, I swam more leading up to last year’s swim, but I’m in better overall shape this year thanks to stepping up my running a bit. I decided to take this as expert advice, and to believe it absolutely. Who knows? It might even be true.
Next up: a Pacers run tonight. It’s a long version of one of my favorites, the Historic Seminary Loop. I’m a bit apprehensive, as my hip hasn’t quite bounced back the way I’d hoped. I’m icing and stretching it compulsively, and am considering getting a massage from these guys in Silver Spring who do Active Release Therapy. I’ll keep you posted …