Wednesday, 22 March 2017

This Girl Can

There was a bit of buzz recently around the #thisgirlcan campaign and amongst other debates, whether ‘girl’ was an appropriate term to use for the target audience.  Personally, the campaign resonated with me (and I prefer the use of the word girl to woman as the latter makes me feel I should be old and sensible) as a representation of normal/real people doing what they could, and hopefully caring little about what other (negative) people might think.  That latter point is always the hard bit, with so much perceived social (and often internalised) pressure around looking a certain way, and the idealistic views of what ‘athletes’ (or females in general) ‘should’ look like.

Hard to dismiss these thoughts about ourselves sometimes, but who are we (or others) to judge on size, shape or anything else, if that person has the motivation to get out there and do something…to try, and to persevere……even when there is often no glory (more often blood, snot and tears), no prizes and very little chance of ever being a podium finisher.  They CAN do it…and they are.
From that latter point however, and I refer back to James Stewart quite often….go read his story, or listen to his interviews on WHW or TalkUltra podcasts, and you’ll hear how ‘an overweight NED from Croy’ (paraphrasing something James may have said on occasion) ended up winning the iconic Rocky Racoon 100 mile race in the USA!  Maybe the unperceivable CAN sometimes become a reality.

So I digress, and what I really wanted to write about was the feeling around ‘can’, and trying new things, different things, or re-visiting in an effort to improve, to adapt, and to over-come feelings or niggles. 

Many people get injured, or have weaknesses.  Sometimes they ask (the jury of social media) for advice….sometimes they post, but don’t *really* want advice…inevitably they get it anyway, and then dispute as a way to deflect what is often viable advice (to be fair, often can be a lot of tosh too).  I’ve a number of these niggles, from past lives and mis-adventures, and one of the things I’m trying to focus on this year is to stop avoiding these, as essentially these could be the pea under the mattress that derails my potential, and sees me miss my goal.

There’s a lot of ‘can’t’ flying around: ‘I can’t do that, my XYZ won’t’…and I’ve often been in that camp too…my medial ligament in my right knee being one target of such comments.  I was in the mindset that this weakness, caused by historic injury, put me off certain things in the gym – I avoided squats, lunges and the like.  This year that’s not acceptable, and I’m picking these exercises off, little by little, back to basics with no/low weights, less depth, fewer reps….and I’m already reaping the benefits and see progress where once I thought there could be none.  My knee CAN do these, and CAN get stronger. 
Focusing on a more holistic approach (yes, I’m going to talk yoga again), and again, stretching and strength, balance and stability that comes with regular practise, and approaching with a learning mindset (you can’t expect to just get ‘into’ something new and be a guru, or even be that good at much of it).  This is also seeing the rewards come.  There’s no quick fix, and there’s always more work to be done. It won’t happen at once, there are no quick fixes, and you have to listen to your body.  Tease it, challenge it positively…and it will reward you with the gains.

It’s not just about a relentless focus on that one specific stress area either.  Rewards come from training the rest of the body to function efficiently…core strength, mental capacity, upper body strength (anyone ever get sore arms after a long run?!), and there are so many elements we CAN influence and CAN improve.  Good things rarely come by chance.  Most of us have to work for it (or we all do at some point…even those more blessed will face a time where they too will have to adapt and change, to improve, or often just to continue.

So take a look at what you are doing.  Are you avoiding and hoping weak areas will pass unnoticed, or go away over time?  What can you do to address them now and improve your physical or mental well-being?  Can you seek treatment by way of physio or sports massage?  Can you try a new class or cross-train?  Can a PT or coach or buddy help you look at things differently?  And where you think you have no time to train/stretch your body or mind, can you get up earlier, take a lunch break or can you fit something in between chores or TV in the evenings or weekends?

Nothing is beyond you, you CAN and should give it a try!

1 comment:

  1. that view.... reason in itself to keep trying x