Monday, August 26, 2013

Embrace Your Weakness

"You cannot run away from weakness; 
you must sometime fight it out or perish; 
and if that be so, why not now and where you stand?"
-Robert Louis Stevenson

Our tendency is to hate our weaknesses. Those nasty little (or large) pieces of ourselves that hold us back. Well, I think it's about time we changed our attitude. 

Your weaknesses can actually be your greatest asset. Your key to success. Your ticket to greatness. (Hey, it sounds good.)

I've been thinking a lot about my weakness lately. Some might say obsessing over it. Here are some things that you might find helpful in transforming your weakness into a strength:

  1. Have a goal.  
  2. Honestly evaluate yourself. Of course, the way you evaluate yourself depends on what you are training for. Are you a runner? See a local running store for running form seminars. Obstacle course racer? Think about your last race... what was the most difficult for you-- the walls, rope climb, traverse wall, running? CrossFitter? Which WOD's are the most difficult for you-- the ones involving body weight, barbells, runs or the longer ones? 
  3. Consult experts. Hire a coach. If you are really serious about improving in your sport (aka competing) the best thing you can do for yourself is to invest in a coach who knows what she/he is doing. If you're not ready to take that route/don't have the money to spend, then consult experts via the internet-- there are so many great sources of info out there for free. Some of my favs: Runner's World for runners, Barbell Shrugged (also on Facebook) for CrossFitters, and Obstacle Racing Media for obstacle course racers. Facebook groups can also be a helpful source of info and inspiration. Just be sure if you are a member of a group that the person giving you advice is actually knowledgeable (confirm everything through your doctor or that guy, Google).
  4. Make a plan. Now that you know your weakness and have found what experts recommend for you, create a plan to target that weakness. This doesn't mean ignoring your normal training. This means restructuring your training so that you focus more time and give greater attention to your weakness. Again, having a coach is awesome, but if not do your own research to find a plan.
  5. Work the plan. Be patient. Good changes do not happen overnight. Do not quit the plan because you don't see immediate results. Do not quit the plan because it's hard. It will be hard. Remember, this is your weakness.
So, I mentioned my own journey with my weakness... I've found some interesting side effects of embracing my weakness. There's a freshness in my training. I'm tracking my improvements, so I'm seeing my improvements.

My goals have changed slightly, so I'm focusing more on CrossFit competition, since my body is better designed to handle that type of workout. My weakness is my strength. I'm strong, but not CrossFit competition strong. While I still run to help my endurance (and to prepare for a few half marathons, a Superhero Scramble and a Super Spartan), my strength training has shifted to a specific strength building program (Jim Wendler's 5-3-1).  And I'm loving it.

So, what about you? Have you found success in targeting your weakness? 

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

"I Don't Want To..."

I don't want to get up early.
I don't want to go to bed early.
I don't want to NOT drink the fru- fru coffee creamer (you know, Almond Joy).
I don't want to do speed work today.
I don't want to eat MORE veggies.
I don't want to NOT eat all the time (sometimes most of the time I get the munchies, darn it!).
I don't want to train after work.
I don't want to lift heavy.
I don't want to do an amrap.
I don't want to train intensely.
I don't want to NOT drink Cherry Coke Zero.
I don't want to run that far.
I don't want to drink more water.
I don't want to...

There's a new enemy in town. Cousin to "I Can't." I actually find that "I Don't Want To" might be a more devious enemy. Because underneath the "I don't want to" is the attitude of "I totally could do it... I just don't have the desire to." But sometimes I really might not be able to do it. Sometimes I'm afraid to try because I'm afraid to fail. "I don't want to" is the safe escape. The "get out of hard work free" card. Many of us wouldn't dare say "I Can't"-- we've been trained that those words are bad and to be avoided at all costs. How dare you limit yourself by saying "I can't"?!

So, how do I defeat the "I don't want to"?

I tell myself, "I really don't care what you want. Do what you need to do." And then I do.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Saying Goodbye

Endings are better than beginnings.
Sticking to something is better than standing out.
Ecclesiastes 7:8

My family recently had to say goodbye to our beloved "Big Dog." What added to the heartbreak was that we had to choose to give him away. He had developed some behavior problems that were bigger than we could handle. We tried our best for 8 months to love him into changing, but it just didn't happen. We had to give him over to professionals who could help him in ways that we couldn't.

And our journey with him has me thinking about letting go. About giving up the things that we love dearly, but that might not be good for us.

The quote at the beginning of this post has always seemed very curious to me. I don't like endings. I like routine. I like things to stay the same. I don't want it to end because that means change.

However, if old things don't come to an end, then new things don't get a chance to start. And as uncomfortable as it sometimes is, new things bring an opportunity for growth.

Starting school again has driven this point home. This year it was especially hard to return. I think it's because I did summer so well. I didn't work. I read. I relaxed. I did what I wanted. And for the first time ever, my husband was also only working part time. So, it was a really good family summer vacation.

Returning to school meant returning to 11 hour days outside of home. Ugh. UGH! I've had to filter quite a bit out of my life. Just to make room to breathe. Maybe you can find some things to sift as well...

Re-prioritize... What is important? What is essential? What can I let go? What should I let go?