When I decided I wanted to do my first half-ironman (70.3) race, I realized that I would have to fit two workouts in on some days of the week. Three disciplines, 2 workouts in each per week, plus a couple of strength workouts, equals eight workouts. At the time I’m sure I wanted a rest day, so that’s at least two days per week with double workouts. I struggled to figure out how I would fit in two workouts – both physically and mentally – into my schedule. My ‘normal’ at the time was probably 3 or 4 per week; more than once per day was daunting.
Somehow I figured it out and slowly transformed what was ‘normal’.
Then I decided I wanted to do a full Ironman, and the minimum dose for each discipline in Ironman training is generally 3 workouts per week. Thus, even if I give up strength training, that’s at least nine workouts over 6 or 7 days.
After keeping that schedule for a few years now, I am accustomed to two workouts per day. I still try to avoid evening workouts, even with a training plan, but early morning and lunch feels perfectly normal. Even now, when not following a training plan, I often have two-a-days.
I have adapted to a new normal.
As I contemplate how I adapted so thoroughly over time to new norms, it helps me recognize how others come from an entirely different place. We each grew up with our own norms, and live with them now, shaped by the communities we live among. Within my norms and the world as I understand it based on my experience, it is difficult to comprehend the foreign norms that others have grown up with.
Fortunately, just as I once had trouble conceiving of multiple workouts in a day, I can understand that I can shape what I view as normal. Perhaps this is an analogy to life. If I can bring curiosity when I encounter those different from me, to learn what norms they live by and to find common ground from a place of intrigue, my views will be broadened to greater understanding and ultimately a broader and better community.