On not measuring

There is a lot of information out there about if you want to improve you need to measure it, both where you are and where you want to be, quantifiable information is king. And for most people I would guess this is right. However this article  h/t Rachel Hawes made me think…

I do have a bit of an obsessive personality and I am terribly competitive. As I have been building up my fitness again and my walking I have dug out my Garmin Forerunner GPS watch and I have been tracking how far I am going and how long too, but what was starting to happen was I always pushing myself to go further, I was trying to do the first kilometer faster each time. I am not at the point where I should be doing this, I literally need to learn to walk before I can run. I was writing down my stats each day and comparing them.

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When I swim I used my Garmin swim watch and was getting upset if I wasn’t able to improve on where I was.

Of course you have to remember that I was training to run a marathon and swim 5K before I started to be affected by my illness, so of course my stats are not where they should be.

In the past when I have tried to lose weight I have done Weight Watchers and it worked really well for me, however I start to become more than a little obsessive and I spent all day long thinking about points, how many I earned through my exercise, how many I had left to spend etc. This is not a healthy attitude. I no longer weight myself as it sends me a bit nuts.

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So now I have started to leave my Garmins at home and just use a watch to time roughly how long I am out for. I listen to my body, if I need to sit and rest I do, if I need to turn around earlier than I had planned I do, as long as I get to the swimming pool and stay in there for 20 minutes that is great, it doesn’t matter how much I actually swim.

I am tracking my rehab in a notebook, but this is so I can see the effects that exercise has on me. With my new turbo trainer set up I did have a distance tracker on it and I was finding that I was going faster just so that I could get a higher number. I have taken that off now, the entire point at the moment of all of my exercise is building up stamina and strength, not push myself to exhaustion.

This is a real challenge to myself, but from the sound of the article I am not the only person who gets obsessed by their stats. I am sure this is another reason why I got so ill, because I was always pushing myself to go further and faster, both in my training but also in life. It’s not always healthy for us and for now I am taking a body centred approach to my rehab. I am pushing myself, otherwise I wouldn’t get out of bed or improve at all, but it is done in a deeply compassionate way in tune with myself, rather than the numbers on a watch.

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