“When I finally accepted who I was, I began to become who I wanted to be. When I finally gave myself permission to fail, I started to succeed.”
~ John Bingham ~
If you do away with expectations, you avoid being disappointed
So many friends and people I know are struggling to maintain their running discipline or they are struggling to start from scratch. Let’s face it the holidays alone can drain the energy and mental focus from anyone; now add in the crazy cold and slippery weather, work and everything else and now you have a recipe for disaster. Never mind the fact that if you motivate me and I motivate you and we both are having a hard time, I am willing to bet we can take turns talking each other out of it. I have not got in the runs in this week that I had hoped, because work has taken up a good amount of hours and I have been mentally and physically drained, but I got out this morning and felt good and I plan on getting out again tomorrow and back to normal this week. Here comes some good news; the holidays are behind us, we have a warmer week coming and there are roughly 67 days left until the first day of spring!!! Some of you are beginning to sign up for spring races and activities and that is a great way to get the habit and routine back. What I caution you on is that this time, train for a healthy and less stressful life, not just that race. Use that spring race to get you dressed and out the door and once you have made it that far, lose your expectations of what should come next. You have your time or distance requirements for whatever training plan you are using. Pick one or the other without adding the pressure of checking your pace every mile. Obviously if you race all the time and you derive pleasure in PR’s and qualifying for bigger and better things this would not be part of your normal training regimen. Although I would venture to guess that even the top athletes in the world enjoy a run just for the sake of running once in a while to remember why they do what they do.
Have fun and find enjoyment in what you do and avoid attaching stress to the activities you are participating in. Helping to motivate someone else is a great way to secretly motivate you. Find a person that you can count on to meet you for a workout or a run some of the time. It is much less monotonous if you have a partner and you are less likely to miss when someone is waiting for you at the park on that cold morning. Find the time of day and the types of foods which work best for you before exercise. Your workouts might not always take place at the most optimal times but you will be more aware of what to expect and how hard you can push. Some days even though pre-sunrise might be your preferred time and a banana and a piece of peanut butter toast with coffee might be the best pre-run breakfast; you find that your mind is really distracted or your body is tired. This would be a case for adjusting at least the start of your run a little. I have found that occasionally once I get moving I snap out and feel fine, then there are the times that I trash the planned route, get in what my body or brain will allow and live to play another day. I used to really beat myself up on the latter occasion because I was failing to meet my required or scheduled miles. One day I realized that these were self imposed rules and if I continued to follow them I would make myself miserable and maybe even stop running. A friend told me once; ‘if you do away with expectations, you avoid being disappointed’. Do not mistake this for not caring about what you are doing because it is nothing like that. Many times our expectations of ourselves and others are completely unrealistic. Situations are rarely as good or bad as we think they will be; yet we waste time and energy building people and events up to levels that can almost undoubtedly disappoint, and stress about things that can rarely be as awful as we imagine. Anxiety is living in the future and regret is living in the past with a whole lot of right here and now being wasted.
Long story a little shorter is; keep finding ways to reduce stress and unrealistic expectations from what you do. Grab a friend or loved one and get out for a run, just for the fun of it!