So London has had a few strikes on its underground system this year. The basic idea is that the mayor wants to shut down nearly all of the ticket offices, which will lead to the loss of nearly 1,000 jobs, and (possibly) cause chaos on the transport system. This isn’t the place to bore you with the politics of it and I don’t feel qualified to offer an opinion, but this is the tube workers’ side.
Anyway. Rather than deal with the Soviet-Russia-style queueing on the few remaining tubes and buses, I decided to run in to work (something I basically never do) on the day of the most recent one. Then I decided to run back. I’m glad I did, because as I’ve mentioned before, I tend to forget even the most important things in life, and sometimes a disruption in my routine helps me remember them. Here’s what I remembered.
Running does not have to be awful
When I was last running seriously, trying to train for the Brighton marathon in 12 weeks, every training session I did was timed. I was always trying to break a PB or beat a training partner or stick to my lactate threshold. It was mostly awful. But running doesn’t need to be like that – I hit it at a pace where I had plenty left in the afterburners, so that when my MP3 player hit a good bit or things got crowded in the park, I could drop the hammer and sprint. I ran through Regent’s Park, which has a bit next to the Zoo and several parts like look like Game Of Thrones’ Garden Of Betrayal. It was great fun. This is good: running at a slow pace can be a fine recovery tool, and I should do more of it.
Not every workout has to be all-out savagery
After my morning run, I dropped into Fitness First for a shower, but it seemed stupid not to do any training. So I just did 5 sets of ring chinups (on the minute) and 5 sets of ring dips. Then I left. Nice and easy, not horrible, but infinitely better than doing nothing.
Hard work beats complicated planning
On my run home, I decided to drop by Primrose Hill, London’s hotbed of bar calisthenics. There were about 30 guys (and some ladies) there, hammering out front levers and handstand dips on the bars. Pretty much all of them were in shape that would put most gymgoers to shame. None of them were following a plan – they were just hanging out, showing off and competing among themselves. As a man who loves showing off and will risk mega-DOMS to win a competition, it’s nice to remember that following a complicated training plan isn’t really as good as just turning up and hammering it. Oh, and I learned to do mixed-grip muscle-ups. They’re hard.
Getting angry doesn’t make sense
Okay, this isn’t about training. And this actually happened during a previous strike. But here’s the thing: however shitty the situation, getting angry only affects you. Whether you stand on a tube platform boiling with rage or stand on a tube platform reading an improving book, the tube comes just as fast. If you can treat everyone shoving around you with empathy instead of being angry at them, you will feel better. If you help someone with their pram while everyone else ignores them, it will probably improve your morning more than theirs.
Inconvenience is what you make it
This is the big one. To be honest, I have a pretty easy time of it during tube strikes. I have a house a nice run’s distance from my office, a job where turning up sweaty is encouraged, and a shower at work. But from minor things, you learn how to deal with the bigger things. And sometimes, I need to remember that a problem isn’t always a problem. It can be a reason to do things differently, remember things you’ve forgotten, and have a hell of a nice day.
HOMEWORK: Try to see something shitty (not too shitty) in a more positive light this week. And do some pull-ups.