People always tout the benefits of “getting out of your comfort zone”…and for good reason. Making yourself uncomfortable is a great way to grow, to learn, and to improve in an endeavor and as a person.
Running is right smack in the middle of my comfort zone. Swimming and biking are a little closer to the edge of discomfort; one of the many reasons I’ve chosen to sign up for the Rev3 Quassy 70.3 triathlon and the Lake Placid Ironman. It’s why I’m on a quest to raise $10,000 for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. I’ve run 5Ks, 10Ks, 15Ks, half-marathons, marathons, in the snow, in the rain, in the heat, and everything in between…why not step out of my cozy comfort zone and try something new?
However, there’s something to be said for being comfortable. Running has always been my personal preference for bettering my life and the lives of others. Although, 13 years after I joined the track & field team in junior high, I’m still no expert. I’m obviously not immune to things like injuries and I still haven’t found the perfect shoe. However, running has taught me to be an expert at other things. It teaches me the value of patience, reminds me to relax, helps me listen, and encourages me to reach for my dreams (and more often than not, reach for a bagel, grab a cup of coffee, and settle in for good conversation with friends post-run…which makes life so sweet.). Running makes me feel strong. It connects me with other people. It gives me confidence in myself.
After the past couple months of non-running, I’ve found myself permanently in an essentially no-comfort zone. I go into every workout a little on edge; never quite sure what it will bring. Sure, that’s fun sometimes. Other times I find myself practically crying into my swim goggles wondering why I can’t get my form quite right or why my body won’t do what I want it to. Not that running never makes me want to throw my Brooks down and stomp around pouting…just way less than anything else.
Today, three simple things gave me a little extra pep in my step; an Alter-G, my iPod, and some running shoes. After my PT appointment at Finish Line Physical Therapy, I was able to schedule 30 fantastic minutes on their Alter-G treadmill, which allowed me to run at a lower percentage of my body weight; my PT recommend 80%. So, I ran. Pain-free. It was like running on clouds. I listened to my old running playlist (which happens to be from Philly in November; perhaps I should update that?). IT WAS THE BEST THING EVER. With less pressure, I was able to run at my normal pace and get super sweaty. It felt so great.
It was just comfortable…and this little foray back toward the middle of my comfort zone was all I needed to get a boost of energy and confidence.
For now, I’ll continue to don my bike shorts and swim suit more than my Brooks, until those respective sports creep into my comfort zone. And then, who knows what I’ll do.
What’s in your comfort zone? How often do you get out of your comfort zone?