I was just putting my shoes on for my training session this afternoon, already running a few minutes late, when I looked out the window. Rain. “Oh man,” I thought to myself almost instantly, “why even bother.”
At this point I began to consider other, dryer things I could do instead of intervals on the track. Cycling came to mind first, as I have been told on reliable authority that this is something that can be done inside these days. No, it’s always miserably hot in the gym, I’d be just as wet in there as I would be in the rain. After a few more ideas I finally resolved to just suck it up and go to the training session on the rationale that Kilian Jornet has probably never skipped a training session because it was a little wet outside.
Ultimately, in the time between my look out the window and when I reached the door, the rain had subsided, and I went and did a perfectly dry, even warm interval session. This got me thinking about what sets great athletes apart, and I think a lot of it comes down to attitude. The will not only to go out and do something miserable and hard, but to really push yourself to do it well and get the most out of the experience. I’m not sure how much of this is a fundamental character trait you are born with versus how much of it comes from discipline and experience. Personally, I know that this sort of motivational discipline is something that I struggle with, and I am always armed and ready with excuses and ways to talk myself out of doing what needs to be done.
That’s one of the reasons why I think it is important to have people who inspire you; whether they are world renowned athletes or just a friend who you train with, these people are like anti-excuses. No matter how many excuses you can come up with, you know that they are not making those excuses, and that is what pushes you to get up off your backside and get out there.