Yay, it's February and it's getting lighter! We made it through January! How are you all? It’s often a month of mixed emotions as we try to get our head around the start of another New Year. I’m always a little wary of making too many plans and going crazy on goal setting straight away. New Year can be a good time to plan forward and think about steps you want to take towards something but we often put huge pressure on ourselves to succeed in a rush to outdo our previous attempts. Unfortunately many best intentions fall flat when we realise we have set the standards too high, the goals are unrealistic or the timeframe just isn’t generous enough. I am trying to learn to set myself better and more secure targets that I really believe I can reach given enough time. I have taken a bit more time to decide this year. So, here are some popular things I did not do in January
· Dry January
· Fad diets
· Join a gym
· Book a holiday
· Set an unrealistic goal with no idea how to get there!
This year I resisted the temptation to do it all at once but to consider what I really want and try to make some small but lasting changes if I can. It was October/November time that I met up face to face with David Sanders of Rider Reboot to have an off horse rider assessment. Soon after that he encouraged me to join FTC Gym near me in Ipswich to get fitter and stronger again. I have been going regularly ever since.
I first met Dave online during lockdown 3 in January 2021. He was showing us exercises on Zoom aimed at equestrians to improve balance/function and ease pain. We are not always the best at looking after ourselves so it was great to focus on us instead of just our horses. I was regularly doing Pilates online with another group at that time too, but in January/February I had a stupid accident straining my Achilles tendon because I was jumping around in my living room without trainers on!
It took about 9 months to fully recover from the Achilles strain and I sulked a lot about that during the Summer. I continued to work and ride but I did no other exercise. I gave up running – which I was only doing lightly anyway - because it was painful. The knock on effect was giving up all other exercise too as a knee jerk reaction. That’s so typical for my personality! I recognise that now that I’m almost 50! I like to do things whole heartedly or not at all. There is very little compromise. That is something I am working on. I have missed out on many opportunities over the years by having such a strong opposing view, it’s a shame I fight with myself so much and kind of ridiculous. I might be middle aged now but I’m still learning all the time from my mistakes, watching/listening to other people and of course the fabulous Centre 10 group of coaches and Mentors. Sport Psychology and Psychology in general fascinates me. There is so much to learn, I wish I started years ago!
Instead of throwing myself headlong into January with all of those expectations put on myself I’ve taken the slow and steady approach in the hope it lasts longer. Going to the gym started slowly and has built up. I do find myself pushing quite hard at targets because that’s how I’m wired. I love analytics because I am competitive so I find it motivating to see results and try to beat myself! I just need to remember to take a break too.
My diet is a work in progress. I cannot/will not give up things like chocolate/cake – that’s a bridge too far! I just try to regulate it better. I do eat healthy foods anyway, but I will chose more healthy options when I think about it.
I wouldn’t say I drink that much alcohol in one go but I did drink one or two drinks most evenings. There are a few evenings that I don’t drink any alcohol now. I hate water, but I try to have more soft drinks or squash so at least I must be better hydrated!
My holidays are generally horse shows. I’m sure you all appreciate that it’s either a choice of a holiday or a show most of the time. I had a great week at Hickstead last September jumping in the main ring so I’ll be very happy with that again! Will see.
Last on the list is the unrealistic goal setting that many of us do in January….Well!
My take on that is after improving my running and fitness, I was chatting with a friend, Zoe who does Sports Massage for me. She used to be a very good long distance runner but hasn’t done much for a while. We spoke about the challenges of getting fit and she said that she wants to start running again. Chatting turned into planning and before you know it she was suggesting a half marathon! I immediately thought no! I am not a runner and I can’t do that. I have recently got up to 10k on the treadmill about once a week. I can do it in under an hour, that’s ok. A half marathon is more than twice that though and that’s too scary!
The following week we met up again and we spoke about either looking at a 10k or half marathon later in the year. I know I can do 10k – although it’s harder out in the world than on the treadmill – so would it be a huge challenge? My competitive inner voice was saying it has to be the half marathon because that’s what I think I can’t do! Zoe has found a flat course in Suffolk which will help my confidence enormously. It’s in October so plenty of time to train – oh blimey!
My brain would normally reject an idea that could fail and just play safe. It’s uncomfortable to be vulnerable but that’s what I am trying to change so ‘this is an opportunity’ – that’s what I’m telling myself :)
I do have aches and pains. I don’t know if my body will agree with the training and work I will ask it to do. Instead of throwing the idea out of the window I will just try to keep an open mind and see what happens. There is also the possibility of either changing the half marathon to a 10k if I’m not up to it when the time comes or not doing it because I’m injured or ill.
So I am setting a high goal but I don’t think an unrealistic one. I do have a plan and an experienced partner to help me get there. Saying it out loud to anyone is probably the biggest challenge I face really because my greatest fear is failure. Is it still failure if nobody knows?!
I will plan to do a half marathon in October 2022 - I’ve said it! F**K!! Terrifying!