Alastair Humphreys, who’s a bit of a hero round here at Revolution HQ, has an interesting post on co-dependency and motivation today. He’s currently preparing for a very ambitious expedition to the South Pole with his mate Ben Saunders.
With over a year until our expedition begins, and the mornings damp and grey, I sometimes find it hard to enjoy the daily 6am alarm. My wife is unsympathetic. She boots me out of bed and sleeps sensibly, contentedly and undisturbed for a couple more hours.
Insidious thoughts worm into my grumpy mind. What difference will one training ride or one gym session make? There’s over a year to go: roll over and go back to sleep…
Almost always I overcome these devils, and by the time I have splashed cold water on my face and stepped outside I am awake and smug to be awake and I am ready to train.
I know that every session I do will help me get to the Pole and back. It’s not so much the physical fitness increasing fraction by fraction. It’s more the memories in the mind, the strengthening of resolve that each weary awakening gives me.
Sometimes though it is still not enough and I just cannot make myself care. I know that I will regret it in the end, but I just don’t worry enough about letting myself down. This week, however, something dawned on me. Every time I get out of bed to train it increases Ben’s chances of a successful expedition. Every time I don’t bother, or cut corners, or make excuses to myself in the gym; all these times I am reducing Ben’s chances of making it. Our futures and our dreams are bizarrely intertwined for the next 18 months. And it seems that, even if I’m willing to let myself down, I’m not willing to let down somebody else. So I get out of bed.
And on which note, it’s time for bed: it’s swimming in the morning and I hate swimming.