Blog Mental

Why am I not better? (Than I think I am)

Can I run like The Flash?
Can I run like The Flash?

I have been thinking about writing this post for some time, I consider it regularly. I was thinking about saving it for later, but I just can’t get it out of my head. Why am I not better?

As I alluded to in first post, I was a fairly successful athlete and sportsman in younger years and teens. I always won my school sports day. I won managers and player’s player of the year with my double winning Sunday league football team. I was captain of my local rugby team and a county medal winning swimmer.

“I still think I can win a sprint. I still think I can effortlessly bend a free kick into the top corner of the goal”.

I am not bragging or looking back fondly on my athletic glory years. The point of the post is – I still think I can win a sprint. I still think I can effortlessly bend a free kick into the top corner of the goal. I still think I can turn out for a local rugby club and give it a good go. I still think I can take most people on in a 25m swimming race!

The other point of the post is that I have plenty of experience to know that I can’t do any of those things and that consistent training and practice is required to do them well. That does not stop me trying to play 5 a side football once every 2 years like I play week in week out (and actually realising I can’t change direction or that if I kick this ball to hard, I am going to pull my groin!) or racing my friends whenever I see a swimming pool, ‘cause once upon a time I was a really good swimmer.

OK, poor me! Yes, I am not as young as I used to be and I can’t run as fast.

Even so, with this experience and awareness that I am getting older, I does not seem to change my mind-set. I find a new activity and still think, “Given a bit of time, I’ll be quite good at that”. Maybe it’s a good thing; to have this confidence. But, I think it also holds me back a little, as I feel I don’t need to try; it will just come to me.

There is also the fact that most of us are secretly competitive. I know I am. Even though we shouldn’t and we think we are not that person, you get to a running event and you cannot help but size up the others around you. You know you are not racing them, you are going to run your own race and it is only your time that matters. However, you look at their kit, their weight; you try to figure out how old they are. Am I in the right pen? Does the club vest mean they are super serious or just a weekend warrior like me? What you’re really thinking is. Is this person faster than me? Are they going to beat me? You know it is not good, but you just can’t help but compare yourself.

When the old guy who looks to be in his 80s comes shuffling past you at parkrun, you think “How the hell is this happening? I am half his age, I smash it at BMF, I’m in good shape”. What you don’t grasp is that he probably runs every day and has been for a long time and still knocks out a couple of marathons a year. He has put his time in, and still does and that is why he is showing you a clean pair of heals!

“Maybe I should just make a start and do one or two of the 101 things I can do to get better, and which I keep telling myself I am going to do”.

So, what does this show? Maybe it shows I am not where I think I am in regards to my fitness and running ability. Maybe I need to change this mind-set and accept I am a mid-pack runner. Maybe I am not trying hard enough when I train. Maybe exercising a couple of times a week is only going to maintain my fitness. Maybe I should get serious and stop believing I can turn on the tap and performance will flow out. Maybe I should just make a start and do one or two of the 101 things I can do to get better, and which I keep telling myself I am going to do.

So that is what I am going to do! I am going to try a couple of these 101 things and see what they do for my life and fitness. Part of my motivation for writing this blog is to create accountability so I do not start something and then give up after 2 days (because no one actually knew I was doing it, as I only told myself in my head). I know it is not all about the “hacks” and effort and sweat will also be involved, but hopefully I find a few tips and tricks you can incorporate into your daily life and training.

So what do I do first? I have been telling myself this for years and it does not matter how many water bottles I buy! I need to drink more water! I even have a headache right now. Its 11am and all I have had to drink is a cup of tea and an espresso. I need some quality H2O! So, the first 22 day challenge (I will explain why 22 later) is to drink more water!

Does anyone else have a similar mind-set to mine? Or is it just me? I would be really interested to hear from you. Get in touch below.

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