Fueled by Fear of Missing Out
"FOMO, though generally thought of as a negative, can be used for good."
Those who know me know that I want to do all of the things, all of the time. This covers training and racing: I love participating in local races; destination races; group runs; last-minute training rides; catching a group for an open water swim on a beautiful day; and the list goes on. However, having limited time and funds, I need to draw the line somewhere. This then leads to FOMO: Fear of Missing Out.
FOMO, though generally thought of as a negative, can be used for good. And I am beginning to master how. I use my FOMO (since my personality seems unable to avoid it) as a motivator. Here are my tips for transforming your FOMO into a positive training tool.
Have a Goal Race and a Training Group
I love planning a race season. However, I don’t want to commit too early to too many things, as new things might pop up (spot the FOMO here?). However, it is key to have a main race planned far in advance. And preferably have a group identified who are training for the same, or similar, race or distance. Even better, have a coach. This will keep you on track and will help you to avoid changing focus (and therefore damaging long term training goals) too often.
Mix it Up
Triathlon is my main sport right now, but I love trying new things. Seeing new events and new sports makes me want to try it all, and it is so hard to decide. To avoid becoming paralyzed with indecision (and becoming broke buying every type of bike), I commit to one (or maybe two. . .) new things per year. Triathlon was once my new thing – switching it up from running alone. Then yoga. Then commuting to work by bicycle. Then I was trying new types of cycling (cyclocross!) to try to improve on the bike. Lately, I’ve been moving from the roads to the trails. This summer I have had a great time trying both trail running and mountain biking. Some of these once-new things have become key parts of my life.
I love the group features of social media. It allows me to be connected to the triathlon community, the trail running community, the cycling community, the mountain biking community, groups related to specific races, etc. Having a choice of activities is great – for example, my local tri club uses social media really well to connect the athletes. There is always a ride, run or swim to join. And being part of the Tri Sirena Siren Luminary team has been an amazing experience – following athletes from all over the world has been extremely inspiring and informative (and has increased the list of my “must-do” destination races!). I know I can’t do it all, but I can cheer for those who are.
Be Ready for Anything
I love a last-minute event or challenge. There is nothing better than an impromptu destination race, or being able to sign up last minute for that local race you didn’t think you would be able to join. But this requires commitment to be ready for anything, anytime. I give myself a personal goal to never let my fitness drop to the point where I would not be comfortable jumping into a last-minute event.
Train for Events You Aren’t Going to Do
I hate missing out on a popular event that many friends are doing. For example, I know that due to my schedule I can’t train for and run an upcoming marathon that many people in my tri club are doing. However, that does not stop me from joining friends for parts of their training runs. This lets me get some distance training in, stay connected, and is my way of supporting their goals.
I have not yet fully mastered my FOMO. I have made some questionable choices (two marathons in two weeks? Not the best idea) and have been so indecisive on events that I have ended up missing out. I also know that if I was more focussed on my training, that I would probably see more improvement. However, despite these setbacks, I don’t think FOMO is a negative for me. I’ve decided to own it! If anyone wants to get together for a swim/bike/run, you can find me at @erin.em.tee
Written By: Erin Toole, Tri Sirena Siren Luminary
Follow Erin on Instagram @erin.em.tee
Has FOMO been a positive for you? Tell us about it in the comments below!