Get Comfortable Being Uncomfortable

It’s that time of year that we’re all emerging from our winter hibernation and beginning our outdoor workouts again.  It’s also that time when we’re finding out just how much progress we’ve lost if we’ve been less active during the winter.

I just completed my third outdoor workout in eight days.  Last Saturday I biked 17 miles on a hilly trail, realizing I had tackled a bit much for my first ride of the year.  Monday I returned to Blue Mountain for a few hours of skiing, complete with some hard falls on some challenges I wasn’t quite ready for.  Today I rode my Trikke almost 7 miles in 37 degree weather, and felt about as fatigued as I did after my epic 21 mile ride last fall.
When you’re out of shape, exercise doesn’t make you feel energized and happy like the experts say it should.  I struggled with my first rides last year, often wanting to throw in the towel, but I overcame it in about two months.  I’m thankful I persevered and got over that hurdle, instead of retreating back to my couch like I did so many other years.  I have to stay focused on that, and I have to keep telling myself I’ll get over that hurdle much quicker this year.
But the reality is, despite my best efforts with my indoor kettlebell workouts, I have lost a lot of ground since last fall.  And for now, exercise isn’t a whole lot of fun.  I had expected to enjoy the biking, Trikking, and skiing this week, but I’ll be honest when I say it was more of a chore.
So how do you push yourself through these rough patches?  How do you get yourself to keep going when your lungs are gasping for air and your legs are turning into useless stalks of rubber?  I stumbled on this helpful article over breakfast this morning, and its advice helped me through my Trikke ride this afternoon:
Everyone is apt to like some of the ideas better than others, but for me the most poignant advice is that we have to “get comfortable being uncomfortable.”  When my muscles start to hurt, my heart starts to race, and I find myself dripping with sweat, my gut reaction is, “STOP!!”  When you haven’t worked out in a while, this can feel like a decidedly unnatural state.  But it’s important to accept that this is the price of progress, and that you just have to deal with it.  It’s temporary.  It will pass.  And you’ll come out a lot stronger for getting through it.
I had gotten better at accepting this last year, and even embraced some of the times I got my heart racing because I knew that meant I was making progress.  But this year, my body is back to crying uncle every time it faces the slightest challenge.  So I will keep this advice at the forefront of my mind, along with the memories of how strong and capable I felt last summer.  I will power through these first tough workouts of the year, and I’ll bet in another month or two I’ll be back here telling you all how energizing a good Trikke ride can be.
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