Wednesday, April 16, 2014

N is for Need for Speed [A-Z Challenge]

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Need for Speed
Any activity-specific magazine or blog worth its salt gives pertinent information on improving speed and stamina.  I've seen several running and cycling workouts designed to make one a faster athlete.  However, to keep things balanced (and probably to keep us from killing ourselves), an excessive need for speed is deemphasized.  (examples here and here).

I, too, am guilty of focusing on speed rather than enjoying the motion.  I spent all last year disappointed about how slowly I was running all my 5k races.  This year, everyone I ride bicycles with gets to hear my speech on how slowly I ride and how they don't have to wait for me. 

Why?  Why are we so focused on being faster than someone else?  Why is it important that we pass SOMEBODY and leave them in our dust?  Yes, I understand competition and trying to make improvements and I know how deflating being last is.  However, I have seen a good run or ride ruined by the mantra "I gotta be faster.  I'm not fast enough."  I miss my biking partner, Tamara (she's be out with an injury and sickness), but it's also been freeing to go out on the trail alone, not having to try to keep up with someone else, riding as little or as much as I want, and stopping whenever I want for water or potty breaks, or taking in the scenery.

I think the need for speed and striving for extreme results is why many of us give up on our health journeys.  We set up a date when we're going to be at our goal weight or the speed we're going to finish a race.  Then, we miss the weight loss goal by 2 pounds, or our finish time on a 5k is a minute or two off.  Rather than seeing all the progress we've made, we are devastated and depressed.  I've been there and still fight the urge to give up every day.  So let's just slow down and enjoy progress no matter how fast or slow.


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  1. While I agree with you in principle, in reality I tend to get discouraged and give up when I don't see results fast enough. Which results in an ugly cycle of loss and gain. I really feel like I need to discover that happy middle, ya know?

    Best of luck with your continued journey :)