One of the best ways to challenge yourself and see some major growth is to train for an event that scares you. If you attempt something that you don’t think you are capable of doing you will stretch yourself physically as well as mentally. In fact, you may even surprise yourself at how far you’re really capable of going.
Why? – 5 Reasons to Do Something Scary:
5) It will make you really train for it. If you attempt to train for something that you think is initially impossible or too physically demanding then you know that you won’t be able to walk into it cold, without any preparation. If you set your goals high enough to something that genuinely frightens you, then you will be motivated to put in as much training time as you possibly can.
4) It will always be on your mind. If you decide to run a race that you know you are currently capable of and there is no fear involved, you may simply forget about it. However, if you have your sights set on your very first marathon or something similar, then it will constantly be in your thoughts and you will be prepared mentally. For my first 10K, I sought out a map of the course and studied it often. I found where the hills would be, where the flat stretches would be and visualized myself running through the entire course. The nervousness I felt made me do my homework.
3) It will take you to a new level. A year ago, when I decided to train for and enter my first few races, I had no idea of what to expect. I didn’t even know if I’d be able to finish. However, soon after I crossed my first finish line, I immediately began planning for the next, longer one. I was now a runner with an official race behind me. Since then, I’ve completed a few more races, each a little further than the last. The first race, once terrifying, is now less than my normal workout. Overcoming something that you perceive to be intimidating will advance you along faster than you can imagine.
2) The goal will be much more rewarding. Obviously, by setting your sights high, you increase the potential reward. Accomplishing something that you (or others) never thought you could do is one of life’s most rewarding experiences. Relish in proving doubters wrong and enjoy your new found confidence.
1) You will learn more about yourself. Do you have what it takes? What happens when you reach the point of giving it your all? What happens when you go past that point? These are questions that everyone needs to find out for themselves. If you do, imagine how great it will feel to really know what you’re made of.
How? – 4 Ways to Commit:
4) Sign up for an upcoming race. Every city should have plenty of street racing opportunities. If you have never experienced a real race before start with a 5K or 10K and work your way up. Already a pro at jogging? Go for a triathlon. The point is, if you physically sign up and register for a race you’re more likely to follow through with it.
3) Tell others your goal. Let your friends know what you are planning and ask them to hold you accountable to it. Making a public statement of your intent can go a long way to keep you on track.
2) Make a promise to yourself. I treat contracts pretty seriously, even if it is just with myself. If I make an official statement saying that I will participate in an event, then I’m really letting myself down if I don’t go through with it. You can hide from others, but it is hard to hide from yourself.
1) Don’t give yourself an out. Once you are committed, don’t even let yourself think about quitting. Once the little seeds of doubt start to pop up (and they will) get rid of them fast. Dwelling on them will only make your insecurities grow stronger.
How? – 4 Ways to Train:
4) Participate in a long term training program. Using a pre-scheduled program like One Hundred Pushups or one of the running guides from Hal Higdon is a great way to keep yourself on track. Using guides like these are kind of like having a personal trainer. They both help and motivate you along the way.
3) Train with others. Invite friends or family to come along with you. Having a partner to train along with you will increase your chances success.
2) Visualize the event and the completion of it. I mentioned earlier that I did this with my first 10K and it helped greatly. I even drove part of the course the week before, just so I’d have a better idea of what to expect on race day. Simply knowing what you are getting into will eliminate some of the nervousness before hand.
1) Throw yourself into it. Once you are totally committed, give it all you’ve got. Train for the event like you are in a “Rocky” movie, running up those famous steps. This is one of those times when you will truly reap what you sow so don’t go into it half-heartedly. When your event comes, whether it’s a race, rock climbing trip, or a swim across the Atlantic you will need to give it 100%.
Fear is certainly unpleasant, but it can be a great motivator. Pushing yourself beyond what you previously thought possible is so important for personal growth, that I believe it is something everyone should do now and then. Overcoming a truly daunting task is one of life’s great rewards.