Letting Go of the Perfect Workout

inTent on VacationWhat’s wrong with this picture? It’s a beautiful day. No rain, no snow, mild temperatures in the mid-70s…and I’m on a fluid trainer. While I spin away at least ten other “riders” cycle past me…on my fluid trainer.

As they pass, I think about how I “should” be on the road today. I try to rework the day’s schedule in my head. I should’ve gotten up earlier so I could’ve done both my swim and my ride. I should’ve done the ride in the early morning and then squeezed the pool into the afternoon plans, somehow. I sure Kelsey would be on the road today.  Ugh, if I was really as committed to my training…

What you can’t see in this picture are my kids, but they’re there. They’re on the other side of the screen door, mostly getting along nicely. In addition to training, I have the secondary task of refereeing. Will bonked Hannah on the head. Hannah’s not letting Will see the screen and he can’t see the video. Will’s turn is longer than Hannah’s.

The whining and peace-keeping adds an interesting dimension to intervals. For sure it isn’t perfect.  It is damn good, though.

So why do I do this to myself? I was in the pool at 6:00am and had a great workout. I’m here on my trainer, working hard and focusing on my goal to improve my cycling strength. And I’m beating myself up by comparing myself to stories that I’m making up about other people. Contrary to some competitive thinking – this isn’t motivating me to dig in and train harder. I’m just feeling badly about the good work that I’m doing, right now.

No one likes feeling this way. I don’t want to ruin the workout. It’s time to “cough up that hairball” of crappy thinking and refocus.

 1. I’m an amateur athlete. I compete against other amateur athletes. We all have lives and responsibilities outside of triathlon. I like this about my fellow tri peeps.
2. I have other options. I could add more childcare, but I really don’t want to. I choose to mash-up my training with my family life. It makes me happy.
3. It’s called a PR. Personal Record. It’s not a record for training in someone else’s life or anyone else’s body. It’s doing my best with my own life, my own training, my own ability, and my own circumstances.

Hairball gone, I focus on pushing through the burning in my legs. I enjoy the view of the salt marshes across the road and the occasional cyclist and runner passing. I smile at the complaints about the slow internet and stalled videos as they sail through the screen door.  I take extra special pleasure in my 10 year old daughter’s warning that people are going look at me funny in the driveway. I’m letting go of perfect, and it’s damn good.

As a sports performance coach, I know this stuff. As a human being, I forget, I’m human.

10 Comments Add yours

  1. I did the same last night! Just got excited about my new turbo trainer and was sat doing a turbo session when I could have gone out! Didn’t realise how much harder turbo training was compared with normal cycling!

    1. Alex says:

      Yeah – no downhills for rest. 🙂

      1. I suppose it’s a lot better for improvement though!

  2. jeffmather says:

    However you get it done is good enough. Well done!

    1. Alex says:

      Thanks, Jeff!

  3. Erica says:

    I can’t wait until I have space in my basement for gym equip and can do this myself!

    1. Alex says:

      Then you could have the sister blog – inCellar.

  4. “I have other options. I could add more childcare, but I really don’t want to. I choose to mash-up my training with my family life. It makes me happy”

    Absolutely, 100%, totally, agree. If you’re not training for yourself, because you want to (rather than because you think you should) then it’s simply not worth it. Keep it up!

    1. Alex says:

      Absolutely, right?!
      Thanks for the encouragement!

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