I recently posted about the excellent ethical sportswear label Sports Philosophy and their range of great clothes and how they are using that to help end child labour. Well they are asking people to write about their own sports philosophy. It seems an easy question, what does sport mean to me, but I didn’t realise it would cause me to look deep at why I take part in sports and exercise !!!!
I have some sports I love doing, running, cycling, swimming and boxing (though only in the gym, not in the ring, tried it and a 15 year break is a bit long to leave that comeback). I also played cricket, football and rugby when I was younger. I don’t think I’ve ever really given it huge consideration, it was always something I just did. It was part of my life.
However it is true that I used to be very competitive, against myself. I used apps to monitor every ride, every run and every gym session. I tracked my times, average speeds and progression. I was always looking for that way to shave a few seconds. I read so many magazines and books about technique I could have lectured on levers and power mechanics, and then it happened.
A week before my first ever marathon I injured my foot at the same time as I got sick. I was due to fly to the US two days later to run the Madison marathon which is a qualifier for London. I’d trained so hard to make sure I could hit the 3hr 50min time that I knew I could beat it with a bit of wiggle room in there. I had to pull out and in the end the race was cancelled due to extreme heat anyway. But what I thought was a minor plantar fascia tweak turned out to keep my trainers in the cupboard for a very long time.
That might sound awful, but it was the best thing that ever happened, after a year of failing to run pain free on the occasions I tried I decided to leave it a few months, and ride my bike a bit. I discovered something so important it changed the way I do sport. I realised I’d never be a pro-athlete so why was I focusing on training and times so hard, where had the fun gone, I wasn’t enjoying it, I was marking time til “my return to peak”.
I realised that actually sport should just be fun, then I’d go back to enjoying it. Now I hardly ever time things apart from lunchtime runs, well the boss wouldn’t be pleased if I didn’t. I just love getting out in the fields or by the river. Now I’m excited to just throw on the running shoes, strap on the cycling helmet or pop in the gum-shield. Sport is my stress relief, it’s my break from the world, it’s the place where my head is clear, but I hadn’t realised how much so until I got involved with the #MySportsPhilosophy campaign. I can actually tell you that philosophy not in hundreds of words, but in a very few . .
“I do it because I enjoy it.”
It might seem simple, but for me those seven words are all the motivation I need on a cold wet night, during a lunch hour or a lazy hot Sunday afternoon. Also as fashion weeks proved, being fit makes that crazy 5 days easier, it’s like an endurace event twice a year on it’s own. and we all enjoy a nice bath after.