There are events so big we plan for them for months, sometimes years. We do whatever we can to make the day perfect. We agonize over every detail. We think about Murphy’s Law and try to mitigate the risks. Then about 10 days before the big day, we begin obsessively checking the weather forecast. We become engulfed in emotions over the one thing we have absolutely no control over.Read more
This past weekend was the New Jersey Marathon and Half Marathon. I ran the Half – my goal race for the spring, I didn’t come anywhere near a personal best. Was off by almost 20 minutes actually. But that wasn’t my goal. My goal was to get back into training shape, on the way to a bigger goal of a personal best in the full Marathon a year from now. I was thinking the bench mark for “training shape” would be a sub-2 hour Half. Didn’t quite get there. I wasn’t disappointed though. I did way better than I did at Newport last fall. I finished really strong with the last 5k being my fastest and running stronger in the 2nd half of the race overall. So mission accomplished, right?
If I am honest with myself, I will admit that had I stuck to my training plan, I would have easily run Sunday’s Half in under 2 hours. Its kind of like in school when you didn’t study for the test, pass, but also realized that had you studied, you would have gotten an “A”. I guess it comes down to understanding why you didn’t study, asking yourself if getting an “A” really matters that much, and where does the “lower grade” leave you in accomplishing the bigger goal? There is often a fine line between being “flexible” and sucumbing to that voice in our head that is sabotaging us.
It’s important to listen to what we are all telling ourselves when we make excuses. When we hear ourselves say things like “I don’t have enough time” we need to ask “what about that is true?” and “what about that is false?” We don’t have enough time because we are making a choice to do something else with our time. We build our lives on the choices we make in each moment. Is the choice we’re making good or bad? I believe making a choice to be flexible is good. Flexible branches move with the wind, rigid ones break.
We all need to create a balance in our lives so we can do and be what makes us happy, make a living, stay healthy, and maintain the relationships that are important to us. That isn’t always easy and sometimes our values are in conflict with one another. Yes, sticking to our training schedule honors our values of discipline, health, achievement, and accomplishment, etc.; but what we value about our family can take time away from our workouts. Or sometimes our health is more important than getting through a workout. Pushing ourselves through illness or injury has consequences. Those issues are real. Saying we have no time to work toward achieving goals when we are spending an hour or two on social media everyday is not.
Two questions that I repeatedly ask my clients are ‘what do you want?” and “what’s important to you about that?” The answers to these two questions clarify priorities and help us make decisions. A follow up might be, “what affect does this decision have on your bigger goal?” Re-establishing a commitment to the big goal helps us evaluate those voices in our head. In allowing ourselves to compromise on smaller goals, are we ultimately sabotaging the bigger goal?
Running for 20 plus years has shown me that our commitment to intense training ebbs and flows. The reasons why we run change. That’s a natural occurrence that helps us avoid complete burnout. That flexibility is important. There are times when we need to be more available to our kids, our work schedules are more of a priority, or we are more committed to other goals. Its all about creating balance. Being flexible helps us stay balanced.
Yeah. I could have trained harder and ran a better time on Sunday. But it doesn’t matter. Through the training I did, I stepped closer to the big goal. I also developed some good habits like getting back to the gym for strength and cross training and eating healthier. By remaining flexible in the time I put into my training, I still had time to dedicate to my role as a mom and building my business. I’m feeling very balanced. Now if I can just spend a little less time on social media, I’ll be all ready for next year’s Marathon. 🙂
Long Branch, New Jersey. April 2017.