Sometimes life is really hard….. and the temptation is to pull back, shrink down and hide. Boy have I ever been there, and I imagine at some point, so have you.
The other day I was running with a friend, we were doing hill repeats. Basically the goal is to do a warm up run, then run as fast as you can sustain up a hill, then jog down, (and do that 4 or 5 times), then run home. It yields amazing results for muscle adaptation for running, and they are really hard, building a tolerance for…. Well…. Suffering.
I have really struggled with lots of things, including running since my crash, and after a 3 hour session with my neurology coach, it is clear that my brain is still not firing properly, especially on my left side. I have a very poor sense of my feet, legs, hands and arm and so my mind has to work extra hard just to do normal things. It makes running a lot more work for my mind and body to manage, but I really love it, so I go anyway.
Back to that hill run, my friend was outrunning me and I was really hurting. I was running straight up, my head was back a bit and I was gasping for air. Then my coaching voice kicked in and pointed out all of the flaws in my form and I leaned forward, dropped my head and leaned into the hill that was currently kicking my butt. All of a sudden I could run faster, breathe better and started pulling ahead of my running buddy.
It struck me that this was a pretty good life lesson: lean into it. It is so easy when everything is so hard, like it has been for many of us this year; to back off, sit on the couch, wallow in our sorrows and complain about the government. Nobody would blame you…. But it doesn’t solve anything. Sometimes we have to lean into it. Work harder, longer, smarter, change things, dig in, adjust and do the things we know work. Lean Into It.
It’s a hard thing to do; like a boxer going into the ring against a superior opponent. They know they are going to be in a real battle, but if they spend the rounds running scared, it will never work. If, however, they lean into it and go on the offense and attack, they might just take the guy by surprise and win!
Going to the gym and doing your exercise every day is another way that you can practice how to lean into it. Resistance training is hard work, and the harder you lean in, the harder you push, the BETTER your results. If you go to your workout and grab a light weight and do what’s comfortable; nothing will ever change. You have to grab as much as you can safely lift with good form; that is what makes your body create change, that is what stimulates improvement.
The work I did with the neurology coach on Saturday was amazing and hard to believe at times. It was also exhausting, resulting in me needing a 2 hour nap after because my brain was so tired. The crazy thing is, all we did were eye movements and simple body movements to reconnect broken pathways, and I was SO tired. I can already feel the improvements though, in hand eye coordination, vision, and more. It’s a lot of the stuff that we do as Personal Trainers but in a much, much deeper way, and I am excited to learn more as we go.
So when it comes to the things you know you need to do… lean into it.