The boundaries of our comfort zone are a prison that prevents us from realising our full potential.
Like a comfortable chair that’s hard to get out of, it seems to be designed to encourage us to stay put.
We will never achieve our full potential sat in our comfort zone, we will only ever maintain our current levels of performance, yes we can achieve consistency, but not achieve all that we are capable of.
It also seems like we are designed to resist any movement outside of our comfort zone.
As part of my training for the Vancouver Marathon, I decided that I needed to look to increase my average running speed, my training had all been done running at an overall average of 6 mins 30 per km, which was ok, but I felt my improvement was stagnating.
So I decided that I wanted to increase my average training running speed to 6 minutes per km, so over the past 2 to 3 weeks this is what I had been doing. I thought that if I could do this, it would help me increase my overall Marathon running pace.
However, as I was running at this faster rate, I found that I started to feel more aches and pains in my joints. I could achieve the speed, but it seemed to be taking more of a toll on me than I had imagined.
I decided to continue a little bit longer and see how I felt. The aches and pains remained, and I found that I needed to rest a little bit more and that I was a little stiffer in the mornings than I had been before.
Finally, I decided that my body was telling me this was too much, I was pushing myself too hard, and I needed to go back to my normal training routine.
When I decided that, I felt good, I thought great I can go back to my old routine, and get rid of the aches and pains.
Today was the first day of training where I was going back to the old plan, just taking it easy and enjoying it.
As I warmed up this morning, it occurred to me, that maybe this was just my body rebelling against the new training regime, complaining that I was pushing it out of its comfort zone, trying to make me go back, and settle for where I was.
So as I started my run, I decided that I would ignore my body’s complaints and see just how far I could push myself, see whether the aches and pains were real or just my body complaining.
During the first 3km, I could feel my body, the aches were still there, but as I passed the 3km I actually felt quite good, yes there was a bit of discomfort but it wasn’t that bad, so I decided to continue and push on.
In the end, I had run my fastest 10km for over 15 months, 57.29 averaging 5mins 45.
All the hard work over the past few weeks had paid off, and yes it was just my body complaining, resisting the changes I was looking to apply in order to improve.
Our comfort zone is just that, somewhere we feel comfortable, and when we leave it, it is a shock to our system and our system will respond by trying to persuade us to go back.
We need to get used to being uncomfortable, discomfort needs to become our new best friend if we want to achieve our full potential.
If not then we have let our comfort zone become a prison that will stop us from achieving our dreams.
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