Monday, 7 September 2015

Overcoming mental blocks to training

One of the most obvious symptoms of burnout or over-training is low motivation to train, especially in your competitive sport of choice. As exercise addicts we can often keep training in another sport if the fatigue isn't so bad, mainly to keep the buzz of being fit but steering clear of the mental block around our main sport. That perfectly describes my summer!

Haunted by the black line!
I've enjoyed many swims around the lakes local to Bristol, runs along the harbourside and under Brunel's bridge and a few stand-up paddleboard sessions. What I've been avoiding however is the pool - any brief thoughts of the black line have been quickly followed by excuses to do something else.

So I've decided its time to get back to it. I've been freediving to depth for most of the summer so it's not as if I haven't been holding my breath. What I'm facing is purely a mental block - a bit of fear, uncertainty and shame leftover from June's major disappointment.

A friend of mine contacted me to say they'd be training alone at the local pool and did I want to come down for a session. After a bit of procrastinating and grumbling I accepted. I continued grumbling as I slipped into my pool suit but strangely as I put on my neck weight and nose clip I stepped into a familiar role and suddenly it felt as if I was back where I belonged. A couple of 25m lengths later, which felt super comfortable, I had a smile on my face! Even 50m lengths didn't feel so bad, despite my CO2 tolerance probably being pretty low now after several months break. I particularly enjoyed dolphin swimming in my fins, re-engaging with my inner mermaid!

So that's the hardest step done now, time to start adding a few more training sessions depending on how I'm feeling day by day. I'm still struggling with fatigue so 2 - 3 days in every week I find going to work enough of a struggle so I'm crashed out on the bed or sofa by the evening. But otherwise things are looking positive.

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