At spin class the other night, I was forced to confront an ugly aspect of my attitude that I had forgotten about. My legs were aching and sore from my run and kickball the day before and teaching barre3 that morning, and I struggled to push myself through spinning. Sweat was pouring off my body in a way that was simultaneously impressive and disgusting, even for me, and I forced myself to keep going and not let up. At the end of the class, I only felt one thing: anger.
I didn’t feel proud. I didn’t feel like I had accomplished something by pushing myself. I didn’t feel satisfied or exhausted in that way that tells you you’ve done all you can. Instead, I was busy fixating on the fact that it felt hard in the first place.
Sometimes – ok, a lot of the time – I forget that hard workouts are supposed to feel hard. It’s like I believe that there is this point that I’ll reach where no workout will be hard because I’ll be in good enough shape. Any time I have a tough workout where I struggle, it’s a reminder (in my mind) that I’m not in the shape I want to be in. And trust me, I know exactly how ridiculous that is.
This feeling, and my inability to be proud of a hard effort – has shown itself multiple times this training cycle, including in my attitude immediately after the Swamp Rabbit Half Marathon. It’s also the reason that I’ve never really liked weight training (working my muscles to fatigue makes me feel like a failure) and why I’ve never enjoyed speed work. Logically, I do know how absurd all of this sounds (and is), and when I sit down to think about, I can talk myself down. But in the moment, my first instinct is always just to feel angry.
I don’t really know how to fix this besides to recognize when it is happening and counteract the negative self-talk with positive thoughts. I mean, that’s all I can do, right? The reality is that every workout where I push myself is one in which I am becoming stronger, and it means I can push just a little bit harder next time. I guess there’s still plenty of work to be done when it comes to upping my mental game!
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