Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Facing Your Fears and Giving it Your All


People say you should face your fears in order to overcome them. Well, in some aspects I think that's stupid, because I've faced plenty of spiders and cicadas, and we still aren't friends. And never will be. End of story.  

But have you ever thought about your fears when it comes to running and/or CrossFit?

Everybody plays the "What If?" game with themselves.

What if I can't keep up the pace?
What if I can't run that far/lift that amount of weight?
What if it takes forever to see results?
What if I get injured?
What if I look stupid?
What if I fail?

Notice all of the negatives?

Now, what if you changed those "what ifs?" into a positive outlook?:

What if I could run faster/perform better?
What if I could run further/lift more weight
What if I were more patient with the results I want?
What if I'm smart and pay attention to my body's needs/perform proper technique so I have a lesser chance of getting injured?
What if I realize that everyone makes mistakes, but no one looks "stupid" for trying?
What if I put all doubt out of my mind and just go for it?

I like that "What If?" game better. 

I'm applying this post to CrossFit, as well as running. I have lots of fears when it comes to CrossFit, because it's still somewhat new to me. I'm comfortable with running; I know running. I don't fully "know" CrossFit, yet. Proper techniques are frustrating; not being able to do a certain skill is frustrating; not being able to lift a certain weight is frustrating. See the pattern? Running is frustrating too, sometimes. Whether you've been running for 12 days or 12 years, everybody experiences their frustration and fears when it comes to running (or whatever it is you are applying this to.)

Even through all the frustrations, I can see improvements in CrossFit. I'm getting stronger - mentally and physically (probably more so physically than mentally. I still have that mental block that gets in my way.) I just need to find a way to carry that over into running, when I'm not feeling up to par with my success. 

Sometimes (okay, a lot) I let my mind win. There are times when I know my body is capable of something, but my mind says "nope," and I listen to it. As an extremely stubborn person, I hate "giving in" to mental weakness. Sometimes it's due to heat, illness, or fatigue. Other times the only excuse I have is "I just don't want to." That normally comes about due to burn out and/or a negative attitude. It happens. 

For the past few months I had been working on speed work. Recently, though, I've stopped. Not because I don't want to improve my speed, because I do. I always do. But because I mentally (and physically, because of the heat) can't seem to push the pace right now - no matter how hard I try. A 9 minute pace feels like 8, which means when I'm doing speed work at a 7:15-7:30 pace it feels like I'm running a pace I've never even held before. All because of the weather. 

And I'm okay with that. 

I'm okay with slowing down the pace right now, so my body can acclimate to the rising temperatures. 

I'm okay with knowing if I were to race right now I would be so far from a PR it wouldn't even be funny. 

I'm okay with knowing other people are able to suck it up and have successful speed work in this heat. 

I'm not giving up, I'm just not there right now. I'm still running, and I plan on slowly starting to pick up my speed once I feel like I can again. I'm not scared that I've lost my speed. I know it'll come back. I'm not afraid of not being able to push the distance when I start marathon training. I'm not afraid of failing. 

I'm afraid of not giving it MY ALL. 

That's what I'm afraid of. Every time I cross a finish line I think to myself: Did I give it all I had? Could I have run faster? Smarter? I know if I go out there and do my best, I can't be upset about my results. Same goes for training. 

Fears and doubts are natural, but ignoring them will just cause you to lack improvement. How are you going to know what you are capable of until you step out of your comfort zone and try? Find out what it is that's keeping you from that next level, whether it's distance, speed, technique, a mental block, or just starting your journey altogether. Write that fear down, conquer it, and prove to yourself you are fearless. 

What scares you most about running/working out in general: Failure? Pushing the pace? Increasing your distance? Being injured? How have you overcome your "fears"? 


  1. Fears come and go, but they are certainly worst at the beginning of something new. You should see me getting ready to swim laps in my neighborhood pool. Solo I'm just fine. In front of strangers at the gym, no problem. Floundering around in front of people that know me ... EEEEK!!! But, as I am sure you know, once you suck it up and get out there it's easy to work past it.

    1. I know what you mean! There are times when I don't even like my own husband watching me during a CrossFit WOD because of the pressure I feel to not mess up haha. I'm better about it, now, though. But when you have people surrounding you (coaches included) hollering and encouraging you, you don't really have a choice but to perform to the best of your ability.

  2. I hear you about the cicadas and spiders :-). But seriously I love this post because this was me with Crossfit for te past three years and finally gave it a go a month ago and love it! I wish I'd done it sooner.

    Maria @ Asphalt & Trails

    1. I love it, too! It helps that my husband does it with me, so when there are days I'm not motivated to go he's there to tell me to suck it up. We've been a member for about 3 months and I've seen tremendous improvement in my running!