When I was younger I had a pony with an incredibly(irritatingly) high level of self preservation. Whilst all the other (less intelligent) ponies flew over bigger jumps or leapt frightening looking fences without batting an eyelid, my pony assessed each jump as he went and, when, the approaching fence looked too hard or too scary, would promptly slam on the breaks. Admittedly his concern for his rider was definitely second on his list as I would go sailing over his head each time he decided he didn’t like the look of a fence but he also never injured himself. We also didn’t ever win many rosettes.
The reason I am telling you about my pony is not because I love reminiscing about him and think the world should never forget him now he has gone to the big stable in the sky, but because I found out today that I too have too much self preservation. I’m going to be honest, I didn’t realise this was going to be a bad thing, but it turns out that this is what can separate out the winners and losers.
It all came to light when, after getting to the track late, couldn’t do a full session so was faced instead with a set of running 100m, jogging 100m for 800m. Bare in mind i’ve been slacking a little bit recently on the general fitness campaign, I knew this was not going to be an easy task so to start with reined it in (horse joke there) for the first 3 of the 4 sprints. The final one, being my last and feeling I had the energy in reserves for it, was a full run. Very sensible I thought. I completed the task I’d been set, nothing hurt too much and I’d done what had been asked. Except apparently I hadn’t.
It turns out Coach Man would rather we went hell for leather each time and tried our hardest rather than cruise through until we think we’re coming to the last run/jump/set. He would rather we didn’t finish the sets he’d asked us to do but pushed ourselves, rather than finish. Although pain is definitely not gain, tiredness and body/mental exhaustion is actually good as, by cruising along you are very unlikely to get any fitter. Or you will, it will just take a lot lot longer.
So I tried again, this time running two 100m up and down the track with a few seconds rest, then a 80 second breather and then off again to do two more 100ms, but not holding back this time. Needless to say the build up of lactic acid in my thighs nearly made me fall over on the last 100m and my legs still, 4 hours later, feel like they’ve got weights strapped to them, but oddly I enjoyed it.
Once again its not just about being physically strong, but mentally strong too and able to push yourself to the tipping point, however I have a feeling its going to be a long time and take a lot of effort before I train myself to leave the comfy plateau and begin the hard slog to the summit.
P.S Where I come from it isn’t posh to have a horse – as an adolescent you have a pony, a tractor, or you get pregnant and that’s about it.