The voice in my head that says ‘quit’

It’s a freezing cold Sunday morning in January. I’m in a line with 10 other women, facing 10 women on the other side. We’re in formation, holding ourselves in a plank position, cold hands pressing into the spiky pavement of Finsbury Park. I can feel every ridge pressing into the skin of my hands, icy and sharp. I pull my sleeves down. My upper arms start to burn. And then it starts.

The voice in my head that says ‘quit’.

‘This is fucking ridiculous’. It says. ‘You are literally putting your whole wait into a rocky pavement. This is batshit.’ It prods. ‘There’s no way you can hold it for a full minute. A MINUTE. 60 SECONDS. ICE, ICE BABY. Wobbly. Totes wobbling. Going. You’re going.’

My knees come to the ground. I’m immediately disappointed in myself. I force myself back up and it starts again. I come back down.  A vicious cycle.

It’s always been there – that voice. Loads of us have it – the one that stops us from putting ourselves out there, feeling brave, strong, confident and powerful. Mine seems to like to make itself heard during exercise. And it’s pissing me off.

Tuning it out

I’m not really sure of the best way to shut the voice up. I’m trying not to analyse it too much for now – I figure the more attention I give it, the more it might speak up. From my experience of training for a half marathon a couple of years ago, I found that the more I got out there and just ran like a crazy lady, the quieter it seemed to get, so I’m hanging in there and hoping I can gradually tune it out.

So I just googled ‘how to keep going when exercise hurts’. I stumbled across the word ‘endurance’. Of course. That’s what I meant. Apparently I need to build endurance. I’m not really sure how to do that other than to just keep going. Until I spend a bit more time googling, or, you know, talk to someone who knows about this sort of stuff. So I guess I’ll just keep going.

One of the goals of starting this blog is – amongst many things – to try out new ways to work out – to mix it up, keep it interesting, and hopefully to fall in love.

They say if you love what you do, you never work a day in your life; I’m hoping the same applies to working out. 

Until then, whenever it hurts, I’m going to keep reminding myself of a phrase the truly bad-ass Tameka Small threw at me in Finsbury Park:

20 seconds

I’ll be spending the next couple of days planning February’s challenges and setting some goals. I have a feeling some slightly less serious – and slightly more ridiculous – workouts may be in order. Stay tuned!

Sign off

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