Bored

The punishing tedium of injury

So…

[drums fingers on table]

Erm… I… Er… Well. Difficult post this week. A couple of days late as well, thanks directly to the fact that I sat here for about two hours yesterday unable to put fingers to keyboard. The problem, as you may be aware, is that this is a blog in which I talk primarily about Freeletics. And over the past week, due to my hapless acrobatics (see previous post), I have been unable to do much of anything. So what to write about? I had this great idea a while ago that would have covered moments just such as this. I decided that every time I thought of an idea for a post, I’d jot it down in a notebook or something. I figured that after a few weeks, I’d have a handy little book stuffed full of ideas. Needless to say, I didn’t even get as far as buying a notebook. Or a pen. And so here I am, desperately trying to make it to 800 words by writing about nothing.

But then, this morning I thought I could write about the experience and frustration of being injured, and not being able to do whatever it is you do. And then I bashed out the two hundred words you’ve just read, and stopped. Because, really, what is there to say? You get hurt, and everything stops. For a little while, there is an element of secretly enjoying it – the notion that you’ve been officially cleared for a break and can skip your workouts with a clear conscience. That usually lasts for about three or four days. Then you begin to get the itch.

While I was ‘off’, I found myself doing exploratory push ups in the middle of making dinner. I was constantly weighing things up in my mind. “Well, I could just have a go tomorrow and if it’s uncomfortable I’ll just stop.” At the same time, there’s another voice in your head saying, “and if you completely fuck yourself up, you’ve only got yourself to blame”.

It is, in short, an unpleasant feeling. But it’s something I can take real positives from, because it shows me that I’m over the hump, so to speak. Freeletics has become something I just do. Working out is the norm, and if I don’t do it, it’s as if my body and mind are giving me little prompts to get back to it. Mind you, I’ve been here before with running. This time last year I was running probably four times a week. Running was something I ‘just did’, but fast forward twelve months and I’m barely bothering with it at all. I must get back to it. I had intended to run on my off-days with Freeletics, but I’m going to use all the usual excuses… I’m busy with work, life, blah blah blah.

As I write this, I’m back to Freeletics and halfway through week 18. It feels good, I’m still a little bit stiff but I don’t appear to be making anything worse. So I’ll carry on. If something snaps and I end up in a wheelchair, we’ll know that it was a bad decision on my part.

Something else I wanted to mention this week (and that I will probably write about properly in future) is the dropout rate with Freeletics. As I look through the list of people that I follow in the app, a good chunk of them have disappeared off the radar. Of that chunk, a certain number basically tried a few workouts and evidently decided it wasn’t for them. I think that’s fair enough. We all know it isn’t easy, but it can also be difficult to find any kind of enjoyment or motivation, particularly in those early days. It’s no wonder that the Freeletics team makes such a big thing about ‘keep going, don’t quit’, because the temptation to call it a day before you’ve had chance to see any benefits can be overwhelming. So I know where those people are coming from. I wish there was something I could do to convince them it’s worth it, but I’m afraid this badly written blog is about all I can offer in that regard…

There are also a whole bunch of people that apparently made a commitment to Freeletics and really got into it, only to suddenly disappear after 8 weeks, 13 weeks, sometimes even longer. What about those people? They’d reached a point where they knew what it was all about. They would hopefully have been able to see some physical changes, and they would surely have been able to chart their progress in terms of improved PBs and so on. Why pack it in? If you’re one of those people, let me know! I’m not being judgmental, just curious. (Or ‘nosy’, if you prefer.) Did you get bored? Injured? Decided on something else? Lost your motivation? As someone that doesn’t even have a Facebook account, I am hardly your go-to guy when it comes to social media and so on. But I do genuinely like connecting with people via the app, and I would hope that my pointless blathering both here and there can occasionally give someone a lift. Living out in the sticks, I don’t get any opportunity to train with people in the flesh, but I’m more than happy to give anyone encouragement via the web.

Another theory I have is that Freeletics is more popular in the spring/summer than it is in the autumn/winter. I saw a noticeable drop-off in viewing figures for this blog around November last year. It’s  remained pretty steady since then and is just beginning to pick up again now. (This is not me grumbling about viewing figures, by the way. Even during quieter months, I’m getting over 1000% more page views than I was this time last year. Yes, A THOUSAND. Which tells you that a year ago, almost nobody read this blog. Go me.) So I’m guessing that at this time of year, people start thinking about spring and summer, the beach, getting in shape… It’s natural that there should be a spike in interest. If you’re reading this and it applies to you, please, please, PLEASE don’t just make it something you do for the summer. Particularly not if you’re a farty forty like me. Forget about the 15 week transformation. Chuck yourself into it and just make it something you do, period.

Fucking hell, I sound like a Freeletics advert.

Right, well it looks as though I have managed to pad this out sufficiently to make it worth hitting ‘publish’. I apologise for the fact that this post was even less entertaining than usual. Normal service will be resumed next week. Hold on to those aching sides.

Still thinking about recording a mix for your workouts. Probably going to be about 40 minutes long and I’ll stick it up on Mixcloud. Just debating what kind of stuff to use. Let me know if you listen to music and if so, what. I’m thinking obviously more upbeat (in terms of tempo) but also something quite driving and hard. Techno, basically. Like this. See you next week.

PS. Also, the picture for this post was meant to convey boredom. And The Breakfast Club is 30 years old. 30 years eh? I AM IMPOSSIBLY OLD. [weeps]

 

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  • TJ

    Shaun, thanks for your blog. Can relate as I too am an over the hill 40+ (who am I kidding, it’s more like 50-) wannabe athlete. Just started my week 2 and muscles are sore all over (actually believe some are bruised). Don’t intend to quit. Not yet anyways. Hope you’re back in the saddle shortly. Looking fwd to upcoming blogs.

    • Shaun

      Thanks TJ, appreciate the comment! And I am writing something now, promise!

  • Nat

    Spot on as per usual Mr C. I’ve twanged my groin and haven’;t been able to do anything bar press ups and pulls for a month and it’s so frustrating. Life don’t quite feel complete without Freeletics raining down its full arsenal of carnage. Where’s Kentauros when you need him/it?
    TJ – keep going. I reach the big 50 this December and i may look horrible, old and wrinkly but i feel good (and i can do proper pull ups now 🙂

    • Shaun

      Well stop twanging your groin, you filthy beast.

      I’m fully back into everything, currently in the middle of a 3 hell days. Really, REALLY looking forward to the last one. Kronos followed by Gaia strength. I may not survive.

  • Joseph

    Shaun,

    FWIW, I’m 7.5 weeks into this, facing waning motivation and also my first injury. I’m not ready to throw in the towel, but I’ve been hearing that thought approaching from the distance. Your words below may have just saved me from myself. Thanks.

    “the temptation to call it a day before you’ve had chance to see any benefits can be overwhelming. So I know where those people are coming from. I wish there was something I could do to convince them it’s worth it, but I’m afraid this badly written blog is about all I can offer in that regard…

    There are also a whole bunch of people that apparently made a commitment to Freeletics and really got into it, only to suddenly disappear after 8 weeks, 13 weeks, sometimes even longer. What about those people?”

    • Shaun

      Joseph, now that you have admitted to waning motivation I am going to be on your case. You can’t stop. Because if you do, I’m going to stand outside your house and flick small stones at the windows in the early hours of the morning. EVERY NIGHT, FOREVER.