It’s a difficult time of year for training. The weather is not at it’s best and there is nothing harder than forcing myself out in to the dark and cold conservatory to erg. Or out of the house and down to water training after work. Or out of bed early on a Saturday to de-ice the car for weekend outings. I enjoy my rowing and my exercise, but with just the rigmarole of getting to and from work in the cold, as well as doing normal house-hold tasks, I find my energy lagging at the start of the year.
I’ve mentioned before in a blog post that I wonder whether it is possible to commute and seriously compete in the world of Senior rowing. This isn’t one of those posts, but I suppose this is the time of year where I find myself asking ‘Why am I doing this?’. Not the rowing, as I said, I love the rowing, but the repetitive commitment I make to it as I try and stay at a certain level. The pressure to do that comes, for the most part, from within too.
For fear that some of my squad will read this and think I am not pulling my weight, I do train my way through these dips; I guess that is what the routine does – engrains the training habit in to you. Yesterday though I had my first “Nah, I don’t want to.” moment mid way through training. It wasn’t because I physically couldn’t (the reaction we all often get during a rather arduous erg piece), rather I just didn’t fancy it. Any ‘normal’ person would probably have let it go, but I felt a tinge of guilt at not seeing the session through. But then, this is my spare time and my hobby, should it matter?
I suppose this is why professional athletes tend to retire at the top of their game. To compete at a sport of any kind means you have a certain level of competitive drive. This is usually underpinned by a desire to be the best (or try your damn hardest to be as far up that ‘Erg Score’ list as possible!). To not have a clean break is difficult because you just have to slowly watch yourself slip down that ladder, all the time knowing what you used to be capable of. I guess there is one obvious word which sums this up: pride.
I’m not really sure what I am trying to achieve from thinking all of this through – perhaps reaffirming to myself that I do get some pleasure out of it. Having not raced in such a long time, it’s hard to know. It’s just not very motivating to realise that some of the races which may re-inspire me involve sitting out on the river in these sub-zero temperatures! Time to buy some more thermals maybe…