Running has been really difficult for me both mentally and physically lately. Physically: the heat and humidity are making me slower and my legs are still just kinda creaky. Mentally: there’s a whole lot going on AND the physical stuff and related slower paces are frustrating.
I read Kristin’s post about being excited to not train for a marathon this year and did some good, hard thinking. Did I still really want to do this this year? Yes, I want to run sub-4, but do I really want to do all the training that goes into it?
I thought about whether I’d have FOMO missing out on fun long runs with friends or if it was the training, goal-setting and goal-acheiving that I’d actually miss. Sure, if I weren’t training, I’d have some FOMO for the fun my friends were having on their long runs, but I’d really miss the thrill of finishing a long run feeling awesome or hitting goal paces during speedwork…and then the eventual high of hitting that big, sweet sub-4 goal.
A few days ago, I thought about what I could do to turn my training around. One big one was less wine. There’s just been too much of it in my life lately and it’s not doing any favors for my training, waistline or wallet. I’m also recommitting to my yoga practice to balance out the creakiness.
But there’s also a few significant mental tweaks I’m making.
Enjoying the journey. Life’s a journey, not a destination and all that. But in all seriousness, training is 16 weeks and the marathon itself will be 3 hours and 50-something minutes. If I don’t start embracing the journey, it’s gonna suck.
Thanks to my buddy Laura, I’ve really gotten into Jillian Michaels’ podcast. It shows a much softer side of the tough trainer, and it’s sort of like therapy in my headphones. Each podcast has several segments. Sometimes they’re focused on fitness topics, but more often and not, they discuss common issues. One I heard today that I really identified with was: Attaching to the Goal and Not the Journey. HELLO!? I am so attached to sub-4-or-bust that I’m not enjoying the journey to get there.
On the podcast, Jillian (we’re on a first-name basis now) talks about a man who tried out for The Biggest Loser who wanted to win the show, become his hometown hero and inspire everyone he knew. Jillian talked about him needing to focus on getting healthier and enjoying that and leading a life he was proud of, rather than having to win. He’d said he wouldn’t be happy unless he won the show, and she was nudging him to enjoy the process more.
Getting rid of negative thoughts. Jess sent me this exercise to get rid of negative thoughts. Though Believe I Am is a running journal, this is really a universal exercise. I took the 5 minutes the other night to write down all my negative thoughts–mostly focusing on running but writing the other ones down, too–and then writing down ways to reframe those thoughts.
Enjoying the surroundings. Instead of grumbling through my miles at how my pace and the weather suck, I’ve been trying to enjoy myself and my surroundings more. After all, I live in NYC. There’s ALWAYS something new to see. For Monday’s run, I was super-sick of my usual east or west side paths, and I ran down to the Brooklyn Bridge, across it and back across the Manhattan Bridge and up Bowery. Running south to the bridges, I caught this view and couldn’t help but appreciate seeing the two bridges and Lady Liberty.
Embrace the suck. Some of it’s going to suck. Not every run is going to be puppies and sunshine. But just as the hard stuff in life is what makes us who we are, so are the hard runs. They’re the ones that make us stronger, mentally and physically. I’ve been trying to stop fighting it and trying to embrace that my pace would suck for the foreseeable future…and what do you know? It’s slowly getting back down to where it normally is.
It’s supposed to be fun, as Jess reminded me. I’m not Liz, and I don’t intend on winning the marathon, and, oh yeah, I chose to do this, so I’m reminding myself to let go a little more and have fun.
How do you turn it around when your mind just isn’t into your training? This isn’t a mental tweak, but I’ve also started listening to music a bit more while running so I can completely get out of my head.