Getting Back on the Wagon
|January 18, 2012||Posted by Lauren under Marathon Training, Running|
Miles driven this past weekend: 811
Miles run: 0
Amount of things wrong with this picture: too many to count
I have a lot of excuses to explain my lack of running over the long weekend (no time, no place, not feeling well, etc) but when it comes down to it, they’re all just excuses. And as the saying goes, if something is really important to you, you won’t make an excuse – you’ll find a way to do it.
I have to admit that so far in 2012, I have been full of excuses. I’ve been too busy, too tired, too distracted to really kick my training up a notch. I keep putting my launch into all-out training off for another day, another week. Meanwhile the weeks pass by and we get closer and closer to Boston – the marathon I worked toward qualifying for all of last year.
For whatever reason, I’ve just had a really hard time getting back into any sort of routine after the holidays, whether it be with running, blogging, or anything else. There has been a lot on my mind, and running hasn’t quite been the stress reliever that it was in the past. Usually when I’m stressed and just go out for a run, I feel better. But when I’m stressed and need to stick to a training plan, running simply becomes one more thing that I have to do.
I know that I am in need of a major change in perspective. Instead of dreading each tough training run, I need to visualize my goal (3:10) and get excited to work toward it. Instead of seeing each run as something I have to do, I need to look at it as a challenge that I want to complete – a challenge that not only keeps life exciting, but will push me to be a better runner every single day. I know that I am capable of putting in the hard work that it takes to improve. I just need to get back in the habit of doing it.
So last night after work I dragged myself out the door for a cold and rainy 11 mile run. I can’t say that the thought of running for an hour and a half in the dark rainy night was particularly exciting, but I knew I couldn’t put it off any longer. The first few miles were tough. I concentrated on getting myself into the zone of running instead of focusing on each and every mile that was passing by. My loop took me through my favorite parts of the city, and finally, as I found myself running alone down a muddy path, something clicked. I remembered what a blessing and a privilege it is that I even have the ability to train. And I remembered that ultimately, no matter what stress I’m dealing with in my life, running makes me feel better.
Training is never easy. There are always going to be days when it’s hard to get yourself out the door, or push yourself to run faster than you think you are able. There will be days when the run sucks, when it’s all you can do to keep putting one foot in front of the other. There will be days when you feel discouraged and tired, and days when you wonder why the heck you’re even putting yourself through this type of torture anyway.
But for all those really crappy days when you question your existence as a runner, there will be great days too. Days when the run feels effortless. When you go faster than you ever expected. Days when you reach new PRs or distance records. And days when you go to bed feeling so tired but so proud of all you’ve accomplished.
I need to remember that I train because I like the roller coaster ride. And ultimately, when I get on the starting line I want to know that I gave everything I had to make sure I was prepared for that one moment. Fast or slow, PR or not, I want to finish a race knowing that I gave it my all. Which means that I need to put the work in now. Days when I find it nearly impossible to get outside in the cold and the dark, that feeling at the end of the race is what I need to visualize and work toward.
Starting today, I am going to push myself back onto the training wagon. I will stop the excuses and start sticking to the plan. And I’m going to do that the only way I know how – simply, and one step at a time.
Simple Steps to Kick My Butt Into Gear
1.) Print out my training plan. Having it on my computer where I can’t see it everyday is not a very effective form of motivation.
2.) Post it online to keep me accountable. (coming soon!)
3.) Change my routine. Just like getting up, walking the dog, and going to work, running needs to become an essential part of my day again – not something I tack on at the end if I have time.
4.) Start looking ahead. I never expect myself to stick to a training plan 100%. Things come up that are outside of my control all of the time. BUT, I can do my best to minimize those things by looking ahead and planning for it. I knew well in advance that I was going to spend all of last weekend driving all over Vermont, which meant a lot of sitting and not much moving. Instead of just hoping that I’d have time/a place to run over the weekend, I could have shifted a long run up earlier in the week to make sure I got it in.
5.) Prioritize. There are a lot of moving parts in my life right now. Many of these things are very exciting, but they still are sources of stress. And while they’re all very important, they’re not the end-all be-all. I need to run not only because it keeps me fit, but also because I am a better person when I do so. I’m less grumpy, more rational, and just better to be around. Which means that running needs to be as much of a priority as everything else.
This post sort of serves as my wake up call. As my reminder that the winter may seem long, but it’s going to pass me by before I know it. I can take these simple steps to get myself back into the habit of training. Once it becomes a part of my routine, it won’t be a great big question mark at the end of every day. It’ll just be something that is as natural as breathing.
But I still need some help – any other good tricks you use to jump start your routine and get yourself back on the training wagon?