As triathletes, we get so caught up in metrics. Heartrate zones, lactate threshold work, power output, cadence, distance, pace, etc, etc, etc. It’s enough to make anyone mad! It can be overwhelming at first, but once you start figuring out the metrics, it can really drive your training forward. If you don’t know where you’re starting, where you want to go, and how to get there, your progress will idle and stagnate.
However, while metrics are incredibly important, I’ve found myself so caught up in the metrics lately. What’s my cadence? What’s my pace? How’s the heart? Don’t want to blow out the heart rate zone, better slow down. Seriously, with the help of my trusty Garmin, I’ve turned myself into a weird hybrid robot thing, looking for the perfect output. And that mentality has really turned my training into a task; input vs. output. I hadn’t realized it, but it was starting to take the fun out of it. I would be so upset after a workout if I couldn’t hit the pace or heartrate I wanted. The metrics started to outshine my love for the sport.
Worst of all, the metrics are addicting. It gamifies the workout. I want to beat this, I need to hit this. Only when I hit these milestones will I be happy. That’s insane. You can choose to be happy at any point.
“The happiness of your life depends on the quality of your thoughts.”
– Marcus Aurelius, Meditations
This Marcus Aurelius quote is from his book, Meditations, and, if you haven’t read it, you definitely should add it to your reading list. It’s a difficult task, to set aside external influences and focus on internally creating your own happiness. But, it’s a worthwhile endeavor. Triathlons, and fitness in general, are about becoming a better person than we once were. (Better today than I was yesterday, am I right?!) As hard as it is to incorporate, internal growth and mindfulness should not be neglected as part of your fitness regimen.
Yesterday I ran for the fun of it. I ran to the gym. No big deal, just a mile there and a mile back after my workout. But I genuinely forgot about the Garmin, forgot about the metrics. I blew my heartrate out of the water, but I loved every step. I felt like I was flying, which I haven’t felt while running in a long time.
Sometimes you just have to say “screw the metrics” and run your heart out.