fear as a motivator…

You know what they say about birds of a feather, flocking together? So no big surprise that I know a few other folks who are training for 70.3 distance triathlons. And a number of people who are training for the Ironman distance this year as well (more on them later…). It’s interesting, in talking to people, how much their attitudes towards the race and towards training vary.

For example, I have a colleague here at work who is training for a 70.3 a full five weeks later than mine. I asked him how he was feeling about the race and his response was that he was worried. He may have even used the word “terrified”, a word I commonly reserve for those nights when I’m home alone and things go bump in the night or when I’m being chased by a zombie. He’s one of those people who just learned how to swim in the past year or so, and I assumed he was referring to the swim. So me, trying to be reassuring, told him that he should feel good about his swim – he’s come a long way and he still has MONTHS to practice. Funny enough, his response was that he was totally NOT worried about the swim at all. It was the REST of the race – the other 69.1 miles that he was worried about. Ohhhhh. Hmmm. Yet, I know for a fact that he’s already done 60 mile bike rides (further than what’s required on race day), while I have topped out (pooped out) at a mere 32! There’s NO WAY he should be worried about that. But eek, now that I know that, maybe I should be worried? Should I be doing more??My hubby, on the other hand, said the other day that he’ll “be glad if he makes it out of the swim” – I can only assume he means he’ll be glad if he makes it out alive – and that he’ll be home free once he’s on dry land. As a result, he has been diligently swimming his heart out. Fear of drowning and he spends all of his spare time in the pool. Very impressive dedication to something so hated. (And as a result, he has made drastic improvements, in my biased opinion.)

And then there’s me. Even though I have one of these distances under my belt, I’m still being pretty rigid in my training schedule. A little less so than last time around. I’ll give you an example – last time around I was not working. It was my first time. I was scared. Intimidated is maybe a better word. And that fear or intimidation meant that I missed very few workouts during the course of the 20 weeks.

This time around, I would say I’m significantly more comfortable with my odds of success. So it’s ok for me to miss a training session during the week – things happen, and I recognize that one session is probably not going to make or break my race day. (Plus I’ve found ways to combine bike workouts – “foundation” rides get hills thrown in to them, making them longer hill workouts and theoretically killing two birds with one slightly more grueling, but hopefully just as impactful stone.) But all in all, I’m sticking pretty close to the nine workouts a week for 20 week program. I’m hoping to drop a wee little bit of time off my last race. And while I’m not “scared” per se, I do want to be prepared enough that this race goes very uneventfully for me. Uneventful = Good. Sorry friends, post-work meetings, social engagement, nights off – out of necessity, you’re limited to one or two evenings a week max.

Anyway, all of this to say that despite our difference in attitudes towards training and towards race day, fear is a funny little motivator that seems to be keeping all of us in check and on track.

PS- On a side note, if you’re particularly motivated by fear and the thought of literally running from terrifying zombies trying to eat your brain sounds like a good way to PR, a friend tells me there is such a race, just for you. Not shockingly, the RUN FOR YOUR LIVES 5K is apparently the latest in the run/obstacle course craze, “an apocalyptic 5K obstacle race. But you’re not just running against the clock — you’re running from brain-hungry, virus-spreading, bloody zombies.” A zombie-infested 5k. Sounds awful to me, but talk about the ultimate motivator to really haul…

Mr Zombie

this guy looks friendly, but he’s got some super scary friends…  (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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