Choose Wisely

manassas-battlefield

Fitness goals are a slippery slope.  Recently, for me, goal setting has gone a little something like this:

  1. Decide to run a race. (The Goal)
  2. Sign up for the race.
  3. Start training.
  4. Decide to take diet to the next level.
  5. Start running on rest days to take running frequency to the next level.
  6. Start speed work to take pace to the next level.
  7. Start feeling hungry from next level diet.
  8. Start feeling shin splints from next level running frequency.
  9. Start feeling tired from next level pace.
  10. Skip race.

That pretty much sums up my race experiences for 2015 and 2016.  Needless to say, I spent a lot on registration fees, but there are no finishers medals hanging on my gym wall to show for it.  We all want success when we set a goal, but it doesn’t always happen.

Ironically, I only had one truly important goal those years, which was to run a race.  As I added more parameters to what that goal should look like, I was actually self-sabotaging my own success.  Old habits die hard:  Too Much Too Soon, Multi-Tasking, Willpower, Perfection.

So for 2017, I embraced the concept of simplicity by setting only one fitness goal:  Finish the race.  It may seem unimpressive, but it is actually a big step forward, given my last two training cycles.

This year, I am running a 50K, now 11 weeks into a 24 week training program.  So far, I’ve only missed one run, and given that I’m human with a personal life and family, I consider that a success.  What have I done differently this time that has worked?

  1.  Stayed Present.  I shifted my focus to accomplishing today’s workout only, without looking forward or backward.
  2. Created Space.  I chose a training plan with 2 days off per week and lower weekly mileage, to allow myself some flexibility for long run scheduling, and to create a buffer for fatigue.
  3. Found Community.  I found an accountability partner, who has relentlessly checked Strava for my long run each week, and per my request, vowed to publicly out me if I skip it.

Most importantly, I’ve learned to Choose Wisely.  Every choice comes with opportunity cost.  By prioritizing my race finish, I may not run fast.  However, I’ll take slow running over no running any day.  Know your priorities, act accordingly, and wait patiently for success.

 

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