Inspiration Thursday – Dealing with Boredom

bored nowSince I decided to do the IRONMAN I’ve never considered quitting. But I’ve wanted to quit at some point or another during lots and lots of workouts.

Sometimes it’s because I’m tired or sore, sometimes it’s because I already did two hours of swimming, plus stretching and pilates and I really don’t feel like now doing several hours on the bike.  Mostly though, it’s because of boredom.

Basically triathlon is three motions (swim stroke, step, pedal) that you do over and over and over again for hours and hours and hours at various degrees of tiredness and discomfort.  But even when you’re feeling great, you’re still doing the same motion over and over again for a long time. On my most recent bike ride I pedaled about 33,600 times.  The same motion 33.600 times – the only difference being whether it was my right leg or my left leg.

I am not a person who tolerates boredom very well. and I am someone who gets bored very easily,  so finding ways to deal with boredom is really important.

The most obvious choice is music.  The relationship that I have with my iPod is really something special.  But, perhaps the cruelest thing about the IRONMAN, you aren’t allowed to use headphones, no music of any kind for up to 8.5 hours for the 70.3 and 17 hours for the 140.6.  So I’m working on some other options.

  • Singing songs in my head.  This helps pass the time not just because of the song but because I have to remember the lyrics.
  • Counting.  Usually in increments of 100 but sometimes something else.  I learned this trick from “The Other Shore,”  a documentary I really like about Diana Nyad, the marathon swimmer who was the first to swim from Cuba to Miami without a shark cage.
  • Selfies! – Selfie Sunday has turned out to be a surprising motivation and boredom breaker.  I think about where I might take the selfie, how I can take is as fast as possible so as not to mess up my time.  During a recent run as I was going by the marina I read all of the names of the boats to see which might capture how I felt on the run (results will be posted on this week’s Selfie Sunday.)
  • Visualizing – sometimes I think about what it will be like to cross the finish line and get the shiny, shiny medal.  Sometimes I think “what if I felt exactly like this during the race, how would I handle it.”
  • Reader Comments – sometimes I think about all the supportive and encouraging comments I get and it helps get me through
  • Breaking it up – if 60 laps seems like a lot maybe it’s 2 sets of 30 or 6 sets of 10.
  • Just one minute – you can do anything for a minute – or so the saying goes.  For me sometimes it’s just a one-minute-at-a-time grind it out situation

Regardless of how I get through the boredom, it almost always seems worth it when I finish the workout – though sometimes it’s take a couple hours and a nice shower to remember that!

Inspirational Video of the Week

Inspirational Song of the Week 

If you want more stuff like this, feel free to check out my Pinterest Motivation Board. How do you bust boredom during your workouts? Feel free to leave your ideas in the comments!

The Fat Activism Conference Is Back!  

This is a virtual conference so you can listen to the talks by phone and/or computer wherever you are. Whether you are looking for support in your personal life with family, friends, healthcare providers etc. or you’re interested in being more public with your activism with blogging, petitions, protest, projects, online activism, or something else, this conference will give you tools and perspectives to support you  and your work, and to help you make that work intentionally intersectional and inclusive, so that nobody gets left behind.

Like this blog?  Here’s more cool stuff!

IRONMAN Sale:  I’m having a sale on my books and DVDs and downloads to help pay for my IM – you get books and dance classes, I get spandex clothes and bike parts. Everybody wins! To check it out, you can go to No money?  No problem!  If you feel like it, you can leave a comment or send me an e-mail ( saying something encouraging, that’s incredibly helpful as well!

If you have questions about my IRONMAN journey  the FAQ might help!

If you’re looking for a place to talk about fitness from a weight neutral perspective, check out the Fit Fatties Forum. and the Fit Fatties Facebook page.

Book Me!  I’m a professional speaker and I’d love to speak to your organization. You can get more information on topics, previous engagements and reviews here or just e-mail me at ragen at danceswithfat dot org!

Buy my book:  Fat:  The Owner’s Manual  The E-Book is Name Your Own Price! Click here for details

About Ragen Chastain

Hi, I’m Ragen Chastain. Speaker, Writer, Dancer, Choreographer, Marathoner, Soon to be Iron-distance triathlete, Activist, Fat Person.
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2 Responses to Inspiration Thursday – Dealing with Boredom

  1. k8heron says:

    I am loving the selfie Sunday and can’t wait for Sunday’s installment.

    One thing that helped me on my half marathon (I know, hardly compares with a tri for duration of boredom) was asking my friends for supportive messages that I wrote on ribbons (or a condensed version if necessary) and pinned 21 of them to my top.
    After each km I thought I would throw them away, or tie them off on a wrist band, but ultimately I just tucked them in, one by one, into my top/bra/sweaty boobs.

    Every one of those messages helped me to cross the finish line that day. It was amazing.
    If you would consider something similar I would be honoured to support cheer for you in the same fashion.
    Huge respect, from another FF/Flying Rhino.


  2. I do the one more minute thing as well. I find it really helps to give myself a choice at every minute – “i’ll do one more minute and then if I feel like it I will stop then”


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