But my song is different…
The song “Under Pressure” popped into my head last night and I realized that both artists who sing it are no longer with us (Freddie Mercury,David Bowie). Yikes. We’re mortal beings and never know which moment will be the last. Don’t worry, I’m not taking you down a dark path. I’m wanting to look into the pressure we put on ourselves to do things.
Last year, I signed up to train with a group for a half marathon. This is despite my running being a rather recent hobby I picked up and not a lifetime sport for me. Also, I have anxiety that makes me intensely fear being around groups of people for a variety of reasons. I can come up with the worst case scenario and play it out in my head so much that I fear even talking to people I know and have known. So, this was outside of my comfort zone and it took me a few sessions for me to take my headphones off and interact with the group. When I finally did, I made friends and I even started learning new and different things about running and fitness. This encouraged me to share the things I’d been researching on it and made me more excited to go out and meet with the group. The anxiety can still creep up on me for absolutely no reason. Especially if I’m in a terrible mood or am feeling a little self conscious at the time, I have a harder time wanting to communicate with people. I make myself do it.
I also make myself work out when I don’t want to.
Not (Really) Good Pressure
I said I make myself work out even when I don’t want to. That doesn’t include when I cannot. There is a difference. Forcing myself to work out when I feel tired is different from doing it when I feel physical pain or illness. With your muscles, you push them to the point of exhaustion, then a little further, then let it rest before you do it again. Why? Pushing any further wouldn’t help it grow. It would potentially tear or damage it.
While you might hear people say that diamonds only happen because of pressure, and that is true for carbon, you aren’t increasing your own value by putting too much pressure on yourself. You’re mostly water, anyway. We’ve seen what happens when you squeeze a sponge. People need down time and we have cues from our bodies when we need to let up on the pressure. This could be pressure you put on yourself physically, but also mentally.
If you’re feeling more tired than usual or pain that just gets worse when you’re working out, you might need to let up on the pressure a little until you can get back to it and really reap the benefits. If you’re not listening to your body, you aren’t doing yourself any favors. I mean, this isn’t a free pass to sit on the couch and eat greasy snacks. It’s an opportunity to learn how to work at a lower intensity for a period or seek out something that you can do while you recover.
This week, I started out with the training program for people doing a 10k/Half Marathon. The group is HUGE and I was energized by the crowd (once I calmed down from the sheer volume of people during dynamic stretches). Next week, I attend a meeting about my full marathon training program. I ran 10 miles on Saturday and it felt so good, I was finally feeling in my mind that I can run 26.2 miles. I ran a 5 mile race on Monday and was actually able to smile at the finish. I’m looking forward to both the program I’ll be mentoring and the one I’m participating in. I get a better perspective on what things are important when I’m busy and need to let a few things fall aside. I am also more objective to see if other people are putting too much on themselves.
Do you find yourself pushing too hard sometimes? Do you feel you work better under pressure? Do you have a way that you gain perspective when you’re being too hard on yourself?