Starting Again - Getting Back on Track
Life is already pretty full. And in the normal routine of life without the holidays, special events, vacations or work travel we can start to piece together solid time for training and pleasure riding. We see progress on diet, strength and life start to gain some momentum.
Then the schedule get's interrupted. Sometimes it's a small interruption, a three day weekend with the kids home on a Monday, a work trip for training or a new client, or a simple occurrence of a long day at work. There are the big interruptions as well, buying a new home, getting (or needing) a new job, a new baby or kids being off of school for the summer.
All of these things can easily derail months of progress in training and eating. And you get to a point were a set of disciplines and practices that were "normal" 3-10 days ago - feels like it takes a lot of extra effort to continue. This has happened to me a lot of times, and I've not found a way to make it easier, per se. But I do think there are a couple of realities to "lean into" when it feels like you need to make a new start back into health, fitness and performance training.
1. You don't have to make up for lost time.
When you've lost a few days to your training plan or goals - it's not a proper response to try and double your work load to "catch back up." You are where you are, and it's okay. You can't lose weeks, months, years of work over a short period. Just step back into today's planned workout and move forward. Looking back is a way to let the figurative hold you back. NO life is ideally setup for perfection in training - and that's a good thing. The rest of life is just as richly what defines you and your goals as your capability on the bike.
2. The longer the break, the easier it is to let "feeling" dictate action. Don't.
When you get into a solid routine of training, commuting, exercise, or eating what really makes it click is when it becomes something you "just do," instead of doing all those things through the day because "you feel like it." The problem is that when you get out of the routine, and now you have the choice of either stepping back into those routines, or having a long coffee reading the paper - FEELING starts to become a factor in making the decision.
Here you need to simply trust your past commitments enough to let go of "feeling like it" and getting back to "just doing it." I've honestly found the hardest part is getting the clothes on and committing the time again - once I'm riding, lifting, preparing meals - that old routine kicks in and I realize what I enjoyed in that whole process. The turn around literally happens in 5-10 minutes from starting what I was committed to - even through I didn't "feel like it."
3. Acute Comparison Sickness
You know what I hear the most from people who are considering getting started again, but are still resisting? They bring up the progress everyone else has made in their health, fitness, or performance. That somehow it's not as "worth it" to get started because they are going to be "behind" someone else's.
First of all, the quicker you own your own health and performance for being a part of who you are and how you enjoy living - and let go of your meaning for things being based on your comparison with others - the more happiness you are going to have in life. Second, delaying your own progress because of someone else's is a really bass-ackwards, prideful way to go about training. Delaying your own start only makes your situation "worse" - and letting someone else's progress make you that jealous is poor form.
Growing to the point in your life where other people's progress is something you can 1) be honestly happy about for them and 2) accept as a refining challenge to be better yourself - is a much better way to live. On our ability for "commitment to progress" - there is nothing different between any of us. Let other's examples be a sharpening stone, an inspiring challenge, of what you can rise up to. Don't let it be a weak-minded excuse to give up, or allow it to well up as a snarky well of jealously - neither make anything better.
Today is the (only) best day to act. Act because you are committed to progress above your feelings. And chase progress inspired by other's examples and your own internal compass of self-belief.
Own it. Start it.