Exercise – why do we do it?

After some desperately sad family news I did what most men do: distract myself with something that took my mind firmly away from what was happening. Think of it as a happy distraction before reality hits. It worked. As such what was supposed to be a moderate swim session turned into a 2.5k swim.

The following day I ran – boy, did I run. It was a particularly hard sprint session that was mostly anaerobic. The type of running that requires 20-30 secs at extremely high intensity (with matching heart rate) followed by an equally quick recovery. I repeated this for around 30 or so minutes.

Anyway, it got me thinking – this is my escape. This is the ‘zone’ or place when I escaped and focus on nothing else by my form. When in the pool it’s ‘am I streamlining enough to resist drag’ or ‘is my arm entry and skull stroke correct’.  It’s the same with running. ‘Are my arms crossing the midline?’, ‘are my hips driving me forward or am I wasting too much energy by trunk rotation?’.

I’m always thinking, analysing and critiquing. From swimming, running, bike or conditioning there’s always the biomechanical aspect that occupies. So I’m curious. What do YOU think about? Do you use exercise as an escape? If you’re happily pounding bitumen or smashing rubber on the treadmill, what goes through your mind? Do you think about that nice smokin’ cup of coffee that’s waiting at the finish? Do you think about what you’ll have for dinner that evening?

Please feel free to share, comment and get involved in the discussion. After all, I’m a coach and it’s my job to understand what motivates and drives us all.


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