Trail Running and Micro Ambition

So, I’ve recently started trail running. After spending the last 3 years in a 600 sqft room I found myself longing to be outside and moving around more. To raise my heart rate a bit and try and claim back some basic levels of fitness.

Being honest, I’d had that urge for ages. But I kept telling myself that I couldn’t do it. That any form of cardio would have too much of a detrimental effect on my maximal strength, so I just left it alone. But I recently realised that this is fucking stupid.

Right, if I was an elite level athlete competing on a world scale then it would have to be something that I seriously considered. But I’m not. I’m a lanky, crippled 30-year-old. And I want to do other shit than lift weights occasionally.

Don’t get me wrong, lifting weights is in my blood. I can’t imagine not doing it, ever. But at times I feel obliged to lift weights. I feel like I have to, it’s not a choice. I get in my car and drive to the gym whether I want to or not. But I’m running for fun. Because I enjoy it. Because it’s a laugh tearing through the woods and getting filthy.

I’m fucking awful at it. I’ve got the lungs of a 60 year old smoker and MY GOD THE PUMP!!! But it’s fun, nevertheless.

So now I lift weights, and I trail run. And life is good.

As I was turning all of the above over I realised something. I realised that I was still lifting weights with the ‘one day I’ll be a champion’ mindset. And every day I wasn’t a champion was a failed day. Fucking stupid. (Noticing a pattern here?) Again, reality hit. I’ll never be a champion. I can be good, sure. I’m still going to compete and aim to move more weight each time. But I remembered a speech from Tim Minchin in which he advocates ‘the passionate pursuit of whatever is in front of you’ – he calls it being ‘micro ambitious’.

So I’ve shifted my thinking slightly. Now, the goal isn’t to be on the podium, it’s simply to get back to a double bodyweight squat, back to a 5 plate dead. To run 5k uninterrupted. To enter a fell run. I’m going to lift the pressure off myself, be micro ambitious and enjoy the pain as I go.

I whole heartedly recommend watching the full speech by Tim Minchin which you can find here.

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