What Distraction Makes You Push Yourself Harder?

I came across this graphic earlier today, and it got me thinking (you know, these things are EVERYWHERE now … and I think there are at least a few addressing any topic you could possibly think of). What weird things keep you going during your workout?

A few months back, I came across a blog post on Women’s Health dealing with “Treadmill Racing”: purposely competing with the person next to you, if they are aware of it or not. I’ll admit, I’m an avid “treadmill racer” – and I’m somewhat ashamed to admit that, yes, I do judge the people who are moving slower than me. And those who are going faster? I’m either motivated to speed up to try to match them, or, depending on just how fast they’re going, I may just be super impressed (girl who was doing intervals at 10 mph a few weeks back, I’m looking at you. BADASS).

But I know this isn’t something that is left just for the treadmill. I’m sure it happens everywhere. Hardcore cyclist next to you in a Spinning class? Yup, I’m going to be pushing harder or adding extra weight. Super-flexible yogi? Yup, I want to be them (I actually took a yoga class a few months back, and come away from it with a few thoughts: 1. There are some super strong 50-year-olds, 2. I really need to do more yoga, because I think running has lessened my flexibility, and 3.  I really wish that the people who normally take my classes would stop looking at me, because yes, it has been years since I’ve done yoga, so I’m not nearly as good at it as I was, say, five years ago). The skinny girl who can lift some seriously heavy weights? Makes me wonder if I should go a little heavier today. That girl who looks like she should be Beyonce’s back-up dancer, while you look like a flailing, injured animal in your dance class? Maybe some day…

I think of it this way, though: these are the awesome people that inspire me. The ones who make me want to push harder, or focus more, or, as the picture above suggests, go farther. Sometimes it’s the little distraction – the one that the person doing the distracting isn’t even aware is one – that motivates us to be greater, stronger, faster … to do more. To be more. To become a greater version of the person we are today.

7 thoughts on “What Distraction Makes You Push Yourself Harder?

  1. I sorta did this in my race Saturday. I noticed a guy that was in about the same shape as I was. as I started running I noticed he ran the same pace as I did. Within the first mile my goal was to beat him. The rest of the race I pushed myself to always be in front of him and actually I beat him by 5 minutes and got a pr in the process. He never knew we were racing.

  2. When i’m running a race i sometimes find myself trying to keep up with the hot young girl in front of me wearing those skin tight spandex shorts. Unfortunately I usually cannot run as fast as hot young ladies! ;(

  3. Hmmm was really thinking hard about this but can’t really think of any distractions that make me better. I mean there are obviously people who kick ass and inspire me to work as hard as them. Then again there are also the people who have the body I’d love to have but aren’t able to come close to what I can do too. Now THAT’S frustrating. 🙂

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