Road to Boston | Taking Risks
Taking sensible risks can be exhilarating. It’s thrilling to face the unknown or ponder what could be. Some risks are perceived, meaning what may be a risk to you is someone else’s opportunity. For the purposes of this post, I will discuss risk through the lens of going outside one’s fitness comfort zone.
“Can I do this?” I’ve asked myself this question more times than I can count. I was nervous about my first marathon in 2017, because I had never run that distance before. I trained according to my plan and decided not to stress about finishing times. No pressure—just finish. To my surprise, I did so well I nearly qualified for Boston 2018, missing by just a few minutes. I wouldn’t have known this if I allowed uncertainty to keep me from signing up for the race.
Exiting my comfort zone really paid off that year, but sometimes the risk we take falls short of our expectations. In 2018, I trained diligently for an Ironman 140.6 in Canada. My whole family traveled with me. Due to circumstances I couldn’t control, I became very ill during the swim and, after swimming over two miles in discomfort, I didn’t meet the cutoff time and got pulled out of the water. The swim finish was only 400 yards away! Incredibly disappointing! This perceived defeat prepared me for my next half Ironman, where I had my inhaler and extra nutrition in case of a race delay, which I needed. There is always something to be gained when taking calculated risks.
Here are a few simple ways to reduce your risk when going outside your fitness comfort zone:
- Prepare by learning about the new sport or exercise program.
- Seek advice from those who’ve done it.
- Be realistic with your goals and pace yourself.
- Have fun and be grateful for the experience!
Why not try a new group class! Trying a new group fitness program can be intimidating. We need to keep in mind that most groups are supportive and have participants of various fitness levels. Instructors are there to provide guidance and make you feel comfortable. Challenge yourself to a Basecamp Cycle class or try a one-on-one Pilates class. I was recently subjected to a thoroughly fun and challenging Pilates class with Melanie.
TIDBITS | In December 2019, I shifted gears by implementing a completely new training program for the Boston Marathon. I’m truly in uncharted territory . . . and having fun with it.
Just-an-FYI Disclaimer: Thank you for reading the Road to Boston blog series. My goal is to share my experiences, provoke thought and provide encouragement to the reader. I am neither a medical doctor, certified coach, nutritionist nor do I have any formal education in health and fitness; as such, my intent is not to treat or diagnose through my posts.