Over this past year of training we have been repeatedly and purposefully getting out of our comfort zone. By simply switching gyms, we suddenly had access to a variety of different equipment that we did not have before and were now able to incorporate into our training plans. This meant being a beginner once again. While it sometimes seemed silly, being a beginner again was a great thing. Starting something new is great, and it makes us even more dynamic. This was the case for me again this past weekend.
I have lucked out this winter in doing my cardio in the garage. I have found a high intensity interval jump rope routine that after some practice, I have become pretty decent at. I am able to push my heart rate up into that 85%+ zone each time and am left completely spent at the end of it. I was hitting that routine twice per week the past few months and pushing myself harder each time. That was until this past weekend when the temperatures alone were hitting below zero, so I knew getting out in the garage for my scheduled HIIT sessions were temporarily not an option.
I did not want to resort to a lower intensity session, so I decided I was going to push out of my comfort zone – again. I have a treadmill in the basement. It is a small home version and I have used it before when doing lower intensity, longer duration cardio sessions, and after adjusting the tension on the belt and tightening everything on it, it does the job when needed. I didn’t want to walk/jog on it this time, so I committed myself to doing sprints. Now I don’t run, let alone sprint, and I certainly have never done that on a treadmill. But this is what I set out to do.
Being this was the first time, I was attentive to my mindset. I questioned everything before I began. I wondered if the treadmill would hold up. I wondered if I could even run on the thing without falling off. I wasn’t sure how fast I could go, or even how fast the treadmill could go. Despite my hesitations I got on the treadmill and started walking. I will tell you I took a longer warm up than I needed, simply because I was having doubts about doing this and if I would injure myself. Again, I am not a runner, so the idea of running fast, increases my anxiety about pulling or straining something. I worked up to a jog and then when I was ready, I just went for it. I turned up the speed to what I thought might work and ran to keep up with it. It wasn’t too bad, so I ran for a minute. My plan was to do 30 second sprints, so after a recovery period, I sprinted again at a greater speed. I continued this until I was not able to sprint again and considered this adventure a success.
That wasn’t the greatest part. The best part came yesterday. It had been 2 days and I wanted to get in cardio again. I woke up determined to do sprints again. This is where the beauty of all of this comes in. My mindset was completely different. There were no jitters. I knew it was going to be hard. I knew by the end I would not be able to breathe, but that is kind of the end result every time I do HIIT. It’s great. I hate it when I am doing it, but I still push to do more than I thought I could and when it is over, it is the greatest thing ever. I got on the treadmill and began warming up. I was loving the transformation of my mindset. Even though I had only done this once, I was much more aware of what I was doing, how I was going to improve and accomplish today’s workout, and convinced of the fact that I would conquer this workout. And I did. I had better and more precise intervals. I ran at a faster pace than I did just 2 days earlier. I ran one more sprint than I did last time. I was completely out of breath and energy when it was over and I loved every minute of it.
My point is you cannot improve on something until you start. You must take that risk, take the action and break the unknown. Once you do, suddenly you have experience to build from. You can know what to expect, because you have already done it once. You can decide how to improve, because you now have the experience of knowing how things went the first time. You can figure out why. You have a better plan moving forward. But it all starts after you put your thoughts, your plans, your goals into action. Thinking about it is no longer enough. Letting fear hold you back is not a good enough excuse. Decide. Commit. Act. With just one action, the walls of the unknown come down, most of your doubts are gone, because they never really existed anyway except in your head, and now you suddenly can proceed with confidence and calculate a better second step, your next action.