How can something so easy be so hard?
Every strength athlete talks about perspective. We’ve all read about measuring progress in the long-term, not the short-term. About how you can’t rush a process.
When my first 12” log arrived, I unwrapped it, noting that the shipping label said 117lbs. Well, heck, I could easily clean and press a 135lb Olympic bar, so no problem to do this, right? Of course, that was my first time trying to clean and press a log; in keeping with the spirit of perspective, let’s just say that now, 5 years later, this empty log is a great warm-up weight for me.
Likewise, my first Atlas stone: 220lbs. I remember struggling with that, over and over – learning technique by myself has had its moments – until finally I could lap it. Then came loading it; going back through old log entries, I was happy to succeed in 3 of 5 attempts. Today, 5 years later, that stone is a warm-up weight for me. If I can’t load it every time, I know something is wrong.
These things take time. Time that should be measured in years, not weeks, and sometimes not even months.
There’s another kind of perspective of which we should all be aware. This was first brought home to me by Dan John, and is a recurring theme in his writings. (If you haven’t read any of his work, stop reading this now, and go read any one of his articles.) That is putting your training, your lifting, your sport into proper perspective with the rest of your life.
Let’s face it: you have other obligations in life that, on any given day, trump your training. It’s part of being human.
I know, that’s hard to really accept; to really take that into your heart and believe it. It’s easy to mouth the words, but harder to live them. All motivated athletes want to prioritize training.
I help remind myself of this with my near daily hikes. Sometimes, they’re short, but they’re still important. They typically take place after I train, and for a reason: I want to make these the last big part of my day, that part of my day that I will carry to bed with me. They take place with my family; it’s a chance for us to close down the day together, to hopefully get in some laughter, and to share.
If I’ve had a not-so-great training session, getting out for a hike is incredibly relieving. Instead of dwelling on the bad workout, on everything that went wrong, I’m enjoying myself. I’m putting the bad behind me, and getting on with the good.
Ultimately, I’ll perform better as a result. Instead of overloading my body with further stress, I’m letting that go. I’m getting poised for the next training session, not wasting my time regretting the last one.
Make time for what’s really important in your life. The challenge, as a recreational athlete, is to integrate your athletic endeavors into an entire, meaningful life. This is perspective.