[This post is part of a series on Cold Showers. If you don’t see a Table of Contents to the left, click here to view that series, where you’ll get more value than reading just this post.]
This morning I ran about a half-marathon. I say “about” because I run for the fun of it and how it makes me feel after (and this year to train for the marathon again) so I don’t know the exact distance. I ran down to the river, up to Central Park, did a lap, and ran back along the river.
I know people out there run fifty-mile runs. I know people train more than a half-marathon now and then. Even so, there’s no getting around that running twelve or fourteen miles is hard. If you haven’t run that long a run since October, toward the end of it you’re in a different place. Come to think of it, that’s another reason I run—to exercise discipline during the strong empathy gap state that kicks in at your limits and makes you want to stop.
On the other hand, today was another beautiful day. A little warm, but breezy and shady enough, at least at the beginning of the run before the sun was directly overhead.
The two hardest parts of the run and why they made it that much more awesome
The hardest parts came after the run. They also were the most awesome parts.
First was doing my burpees. I do sets of twenty-five now. For the first time I can think of, I couldn’t do the full set straight. I did seventeen, paused briefly, did another three more, and then had to pause for a while to catch my breath. Maybe thirty seconds. I felt like I couldn’t continue. I hadn’t had that happen before during burpees. Lifting weights, sure. Anyway, I finished the last five after the pause. They were easier than I expected so maybe I paused unnecessarily long.
Knowing I reached a limit I hadn’t before felt great! As hard as starting the burpees was, I felt that much better after finishing them.
Second was realizing today was a cold shower day. After all that running, burpees, and inverted rows (I added this new SIDCHA without telling anyone yet), I was looking forward to taking a relaxing shower and lying down to rest. Then I realized today was a cold shower day. No relaxing shower for me!
Here’s the thing. Cold showers are hard to start but they are incredibly refreshing and invigorating after. As hard as getting into the water was, holy cow did that cold water make me feel great!
I wouldn’t have chosen to take a cold shower had I not already scheduled it independent of the long run. That’s the beauty and value of removing choice from your SIDCHAs. The mental effort of choosing is harder than the activity, at least for most activities. Remove the choice by making them regular and you can do more than you thought.
I can’t tell you how much discipline improves your life over self-indulgence and complacent comfort. I love indulging myself and comfort. I appreciate and enjoy them that much more when they accompany achievement.
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