Thursday, August 13, 2015

I tell myself I can quit

It's less than a year until the Olympic Games in Rio 2016. A lot has happened in the last year since I last blogged. I will get to that later... but I was drawn back to blogging after I was asked a question by one of my former teammates. Laura Suchoski, who I grew up playing hockey with at some of the highest levels, posed a question that stated:

You're working out. Doing sprints. Hardest you've pushed yourself all month. You're ready to quit. But know you could keep going. What would you say to yourself to keep going and push yourself? "I got this", "Can't stop, won't stop." 

I love this question! Especially since I am doing a lot of running and training on my own as we have a little down time after our crazy summer. (Don't worry, I'll recap the summer for you in a later post!) Anyways, my response to Laura was:

I think about why I am doing it. I tell myself I have to push myself harder if I want to be the best. I try to focus on winning each rep, just one more, just one more. You'd be surprised how many more your body can actually do!!!

Obviously, I am training at the highest level. I am training for the Olympics, and not only that, but I am training to win a Gold Medal. That is my ultimately goal. Whenever I am running, by myself or with the team, I have to remember why I put myself through the pain. There is a bigger end goal. That is just my initial thought that gets me off the line. Once I am off and running, I must then be in the moment. I have to get through one rep at a time. And of course, as competitive as I am, I want to win each rep. "Winning" can often be a game for myself though. Some days are harder than others, you just feel better or you feel worse. I tell myself that if I did the best I absolutely could on that day, then I did all I could and I will be better for it. So, I have to beat my time from last time, or the previous sprint. I make it a competition with myself. This is especially important when I am running on my own, without a teammate next to me, challenging me, pushing me, and also motivating me through it.

There is also something else I tell myself which may surprise you. When the workout is really hard one day (it happens a lot honestly! haha) I tell myself that if I push as hard as I can to make the next rep, I can quit and be done for the day. Yup, I tell myself I can "quit" and "cheat". In reality, I never actually quit. It is my way of pushing as hard through one rep and not having to think (or know) that there is anything else afterwards. I continue to use this strategy of thinking for the rest of the workout. And even though I pushed myself to the limit on the first one (that I wanted to quit on), my body and mind find a way to finish all of the reps.

It is truly amazing what your body can endure. It is probably more amazing how much your mind plays a factor in the outcome, as well.

The other biggest factor for me, which is the same for a lot of people, is getting the motivation to go do my workouts. Yes, even an Olympic athlete struggles with that. I know my workout is going to be hard and I have to mentally prepare to hit it hard and get everything I can out of each session. I find that forcing myself to go to the gym or to the field... just driving myself there and stepping out of the car is the best solution. Once you are there, you aren't going to back out... so just get up and GO! Don't put it off! Also, it is much easier to do your workouts in the morning and get them done for the day. Not only will you feel more accomplished, your body will get a rush of natural endorphin which will actually give you more energy and motivation to be productive the rest of your day!
Does anyone else have any good ways they motivate themselves when they are on the brink of quitting? Leave me comments and let me know!!