So let’s be honest – working out can be tough enough and committing to a workout challenge is a whole different ball game. Challenges can sound super intimidating even to someone like me who trains pretty often. However, after recently running 50 miles in 20 days and completing my August Love Squad Ride Challenge with my Peloton family, my perspective has changed. When committing to the training routine, I had to overcome my initial reaction: FEAR! But after completing the challenges, I can say that it was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. It kickstarted my outdoor training, took my approach to a new level, and provided motivation through the social support and new connections I’ve made as a result.
This summer, my mission was simple: sweat outside more. I was in a bit of a workout funk because my body was tired, my workload was plenty, and I just needed something different with the change of season. After hosting 41 home games for the Brooklyn Nets at the Barclays Center, I couldn’t wait to get outside and put some of my love for sports to work! Running has always been my love – and sometimes my hate – so it was pretty clear that hitting the streets was a no-brainer. I partnered with Shape Magazine and rallied all of my Love Squad followers and friends to run with me. It was clear to me that I needed some type of accountability. I also recognized, if I made a commitment in front of the world, I had no choice but to run.
The challenge was to run 50 miles in 20 days. The word “challenge” was scary and it felt was so uninviting. It meant putting my program and commitment out there in front of so many judging eyes. I’m supposed to be “in shape” so the expectation was to finish. While I never doubted that I would, the idea of potentially not being able to for any reason, in front of the public, was a bit frightening. At this point, I did what I knew how to do. I did what I talk about all the time. I bossed up, took a risk on myself, and brought oxygen to all those places in my body that were uncomfortable. I did this as many times as I needed to and did so without self-judgment. When broken down, the mileage came out to 2.5 miles per day outside. This was totally doable, but in addition to my current training and overall workload, it was a lot! During the challenge there were ups and downs, times where I had to slow down and other times where I felt so strong but throughout it all, I reminded myself to “just run”. After those 20 days, I started the Love Squad August Challenge of riding 20 classes per month and completing 60 minutes of Beyond the Ride, which included weekly stretching and one rest day. I often encouraged all of those riders who signed up for the challenge to “just ride”. Sometimes that’s all you can do!
Throughout summer 2017 I put to rest the idea that challenges were intimidating – challenges are actually not scary at all. It was not about judgment, running and riding faster, longer, or better than anyone. It was about consistency. It was about disciplining myself to be comfortable with some days moving slowly and other days moving quickly. As athletes, we compete every day but challenges are not about competition. They are about having the discipline to become better, to be keener, to become mentally strong, and most of all, to learn how to consistently persevere without fear of failure or self-judgment.
Hopefully, I’ll see you on a challenge soon. It would be my pleasure to ride alongside you as we get to the top together – one pedal, or foot, at a time!