Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Find your Comfort Zone....And Get OUT of it!!!

I dive in the water, warm up, swim some 50s and build my pace and after a 1000 or 1500 yards it's time to start. The Main Set. Sometimes it's 100s, or maybe my favorite-200s, or if I'm really lucky (note sarcasm) 10x400s. (right Jen...actually I did like that set even though it sounds totally dreadful). The point is--I have my speed. I know how fast I can 100s, 200s, 400s. I know what I can do. I push off, streamline and kick harder than on other sets. I'm pushing it. I'm working hard. All is well.
I'm cruising along....thinking I'm working hard....really really pushing....and I hit the wall. Ok. Yup. That's my time. That's my "I just worked hard on a 100 yards time..."
It's not enough. I have more.
So on the next one, I push harder, I dig deeper as I pull, I engage muscles that are dormant most days, I find a new place....a place that I don't find every day. I'm breaking away. OUT of that comfort zone. OUT of that safe fast place. Into a new zone...a new speed....the speed that will make me faster this year. The speed that will get me ahead just a little bit more. And maybe that's all it will take.

When I run, my comfort zone is the easiest to find of all three sports. It's just where I go. It's my pace when I'm told to 'just run' steady. Yeah baby...it feels so good. When you're cruising along: step step step step step and before you know it you forget you're running. I love that. Some days, you need to throw some speed in the mix. Let's say I'm running 4 minutes fast......4 times. Not so bad. I can do that...I can run fast for 4 minutes! I can push it! And you know, I know about the pace that I should do on a moderately flat route. (no total flats in my neighborhood) And that pace hurts. But I can make it hurt more...and I must. If I'm going to have a fast season and go faster than I did before, I need to push beyond where I think it hurts. I Must get Out of my comfort zone.

You can work hard or you can tear it up.

I believe it taking things one step further. If you think you are working hard...challenge yourself. Make it hurt MORE. Dig deep deep inside for one more gear. One more zone. One more level. Proove to yourself that you can find the place that will make you better. If you want to get better (and I think we all do) you must challenge yourself.

That comfort zone is a dangerous place. We all have it. And if you can't figure out how to escape....you're stuck.

So GO FOR IT! Next time your coach gives you the green light to PUSH HARD....do just that...only push HARDER than you thought you could. You'll be proud when you finish.

12 comments:

Laura said...

This made me chuckle....I have my happy little place in biking and running....haven't found that at all in swimming, so I promise that I will push past that comfort zone...and make burn! Next step is to make it fun and enjoy it while I'm doing it not just awesome high after it's all done....

Jennifer Harrison said...

YES!!!!!!!!!!! And, Ange, you are a very hard worker and you "get it!"....glad you are sharing it w/ your readers! :) yes yes!

Jen said...

I want it.... BTW: What kind of bike do you have?

Aimee (I Tri To Be Me) said...

You are so right on! I think it's so interesting that you posted about getting out of your comfort zone b/c that is one of my main goals for running this year.

For some reason I always revert to that comfortable pace and it has held me back. This year will be different! I really want to improve and get faster and I know how to do it...I just need to do it! Thanks for the motivational post! :)

Mary IronMatron said...

I love that comfort zone in running and biking and most of all, swimming! Comfort swimming is just ze best....
But you are so right. You need to push and then push beyond that push, and then beyond that...
not because physiologically it's necessary in any given run or swim or bike, but because sometimes, maybe even often, you need to show yourself that you can go there--and then go a little beyond that. That psychological piece--imperative.

Rural Girl said...

perfect timing for your post! i'm down for a 30 min lactate threshold test run this afternoon. thanks!

Kim said...

great post ange.

i'm kind of a puss and am afraid sometimes to get out of my comfort zone! but when i push it, i feel incredible afterwards!

Running and living said...

Great post. I was thinking about it today during my tempo, when I got tired, and pushed into a new gear, it felt great! I think it is easy to get stuck in the comfort zone in sport and in life. It's safe and it's known. But there is much more to explore and experience outside of it!

Melissa said...

Good point Ange. I will remember this the next time I get that green light. Happy training!

Marit Chrislock-Lauterbach said...

I LOVE it!

This inspired me to swim in a faster lane today at Masters. The workout was already HARD...but I knew I could *do it in the slower lane. But that's not what life is about...right?

THANKS for this!!!

Judi said...

ok, so you talk about the swim, you talk about the run, whats up with your bike? :)

Ange said...

Judi...funny that only you mentioned that. I thougth of it after I finished writing. Hmmm....yes...it means something doesn't it. I'm getting there.... :)