You know how ambitious you always are when you ‘start’ your run or an activity? Are you mentally committed to the outcome? No matter what the task, there are times when you start or rather ‘I’ start to wonder how I am going to finish it. This is not just true for running but also life in general (or at least mine)! Since I am so goal oriented (others refer to this as ‘TYPE A’), my training runs are somewhat ‘easier’ to power through despite the longing to ‘give up’ – even if I take it slow (or walk) because heck, miles are miles.
I use many of the same strategies to finish training runs and races as I do for other tasks such as cleaning my office – although to date running has been more successful than my office floor, desk or shelf. Most of us have that ‘one’ drawer or room in your house that collects stuff – well, I have an entire office! When you have to clean up, it is the place you shove things so that the rest of the place ‘looks good’. Ask anyone who knows me, and they will comment that I am always trying to clean the office. I get to the final piles and can’t seem to finish – either running out of time or ambition.
Well, I am committed to finishing it this time – sort of a clean slate. It’s almost like training for the next race – starting over, learning from past mistakes – mental or physical; a redo! In the instance of this crazy office, it will be a huge accomplishment – going the distance (not as big as finishing my 1st marathon, but the post-clean euphoria should last until at least I have to quickly clean up another room.
I found the best way to accomplish any task is to ‘chunk it’. Don’t look at just the daunting task itself, but break it down into manageable pieces. It’s working for the office, and it definitely worked for my WDW Marathon training. During the long runs – meaning 16 miles or more, I would focus on 4 or 5 miles at a time. It helped to get me started. For example, I knew how long a few of my ‘usual’ running routes were in terms of mileage and applied that strategy. I approached each segment as ‘just another short run’.
When it came time for the last long training run of 23 miles, it was again a big ‘chunking’ exercise although this time I had my running partner along for the fun. It was that extra motivation that is sometimes needed to finish a task or run. While running the WDW Marathon in January, I used the same strategies – focusing on where we were going next NEVER thinking that we had ‘x’ number of miles left until we were very close to the end or in other words – the last segment of the race.
Whether you are running or working on that never-ending task (for me, that is cleaning the office), the sense of satisfaction when you are done is amazing; I can even equate it to a ‘runners high’.
Amazingly, when my longest training run was complete, we came across a painted sign on the trail of “THE END”. It was as though we were rewarded for our mental and physical ability to power through any obstacles, doubt and fatigue. It was our reward!
The ability to stick with something no matter how difficult takes mental stamina. The sense of accomplishment is huge, like none other, especially if you’ve tried in the past and weren’t successful. Luckily for us, life gives us plenty of opportunities to continue to develop our mental (and physical) stamina. It’s important to not only celebrate our major accomplishments, but also the little ones. For me, every step of the way is a journey, and it’s how we go about it and react to the challenges that are the biggest achievement of all.
What are your biggest accomplishments??? Share them with us at #Joyfulmiles, so we can celebrate together and earn the big “I DID IT” and don’t forget to subscribe to Joyful Miles for notification of new posts!