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Getting out of your comfort zone

Written by Sarah on

Sometimes we have to do things that scare us and that we think we aren’t capable of doing to keep moving forward and avoid getting stuck in a rut. Whether it's signing up for Couch to 5km, a marathon or trying a new hobby for the first time, what will push you out of your comfort zone this year?

This weekend there is a 100km ultra marathon starting and ending in Whaley Bridge. 100km. On the hottest day of the year. I’ve spoken to a couple of people who are taking part and expressed my awe at them competing in such a daunting event. It seems almost super human to me to be able to run that distance, even more so in 28 degree heat and with so many hills round here!

One person taking part said to me, ‘it is completely doable, you just have to put the training in and start increasing your distances gradually until you are able to compete in these long endurance events. I used to think I couldn’t run 5km and now I’m doing ultras.’

I suppose in a way doing a 5km parkrun could feel equally as daunting as 100km would feel to someone who has never attempting running any distance before. That is why apps like Couch to 5km are so important. They guide people through a safe and sustainable training plan, gradually increasing the distances you run until you have built up your physical fitness to be able to complete the full 5km.

In a way, the psychological aspect of these challenges is actually more important than the physical factors. You need to believe you can achieve something and it needs to feel scary enough for you to put the time in training to get your body ready for the challenge.

Getting out of our comfort zone in any area of our life is a scary prospect. Whether it’s starting a new job, visiting somewhere unknown or even socialising with new people (especially after lockdowns). New experiences can feel pretty terrifying at times and make us want to stay where we feel safe and everything is familiar, even if sometimes that safety might be holding us back or keeping us in a negative place.

It’s when you push yourself out of your comfort zone that you can feel the most fulfilled and alive, and these experiences can change you as a person in a positive way.

In 2018 I went to Nepal with my sister to undertake a trek to Everest Base Camp as part of a guided group. I was so anxious before we went; about altitude sickness, flying to one of the world’s most dangerous airports, generalised anxiety about going to somewhere so unfamiliar to me, where the temperatures could drop to -15 and if you got ill or injured you would have to be flown to the nearest city by helicopter (if the weather allowed helicopters to fly).

I remember being a nervous wreck in a hotel room in Kathmandu the night before we flew to the Himalyas, beside myself with anxiety (as my poor sister was probably regretting her choice in travelling companion!)

But the next day I got on that plane and I marvelled at the amazing scenery and the skill of the pilot to fly such a tiny aircraft through this magnificent mountain range and land us safely on one of the shortest runways in the world. And for the next 12 days I walked through stunning scenery, visited Buddhist monasteries, had mind expanding conversations (and more than a few laughs) with my fellow travellers from all over the world and our very wise Nepalese guides. It was one of the best experiences of my life and I nearly let my fear and anxiety derail it.

Sometimes we have to do things that scare us and that we think we aren’t capable of doing, to keep moving forward and avoid getting stuck in a rut. You don’t have to fly to the other side of the world or run 100km in a heatwave to do that though.

My next big challenge is signing up for a fitness race next year in Macclesfield to take my training to a new level. I went to my first training session for it this week and felt nervous about whether I would be strong enough to even get through it, but I survived and I’m feeling ready to take on the next one!

I need to push myself to do something new and which at the moment I’m not sure if my body is capable of. But there is only one way to find out and I’m willing to put the work in and to give it my best shot.

Think about something you thought you could never achieve that you then went on to conquer. Remember how amazing it felt when you did it and use that feeling to power your next challenge. If you want to talk through what that could be and need some inspiration, motivation and accountability get in touch for a free consultation.

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