I received this quote/reading in my inbox recently, and it struck a chord with me from a training perspective.
“Limited expectations yield only limited results.
– Susan Laurson Willig
Our thoughts determine our actions, and when our thoughts are negative, our successes are few. What we hold in our mind is certain to be reflected in the day’s activities. And we are capable of fueling our thoughts positively, if we choose to. Positive self-assessment and uplifting pep talks can become habitual if our desire to live up to our potential is great enough. The expectations we privately harbor, be they small or far-reaching, will set the pace for the progress we make today, and every day.
We can greet a challenge with eager anticipation when we’ve grown accustomed to believing in our capability for success.”
[Reading from: The Promise of a New Day by Karen Casey and Martha Vanceburg]
I’ve struggled a lot this year with accepting where I am currently with my running. The last time I focused solely on running (2011), I was setting PRs all over the place, achieving new milestones and feeling pretty chuffed – but I was also starting to feel burnt out. I needed the mental and physical break and I had fun dabbling in triathlon for a couple of years and letting running take a back seat. Ultimately I discovered that running is what I love the most and I was really missing the focus and drive (and along with that, results) that I once had. I don’t regret it one bit, but I found myself at the bottom of a long, steep climb back to some semblance of my former fitness. I still have a long way to go, but I am making strides week after week.
That being said, I have really struggled with being slower than I feel like I “should” be. I knew it would be a long road, but I was frequently feeling down on myself, comparing previous paces and times and harbouring a generally negative attitude. Fortunately, I was able to catch myself and realized how ridiculous I was being. I should be enjoying and celebrating every run! I am doing what I love and now I get to enjoy the journey of reaching milestones all over again. I started reminding myself to remain positive, take credit for every little victory and believe in myself. The attitude adjustment helped a lot, as has all of the support from hubs and my awesome running friends (real life and virtual).
I was also fortunate to receive some excellent inspiration from Kenny, via his post and the wrist band he sent me. My road back to Boston will be long and tough, but it will be worth it and I am going to make the most of every step. It feels so good to be training toward this [long term] goal again.
On another positive note, I have finally gotten my act together in the diet department after being too lenient for too long. The expanding waist-line and feeling of sluggishness that resulted was not doing anything good for my running or my morale. I’ve been on the right track for several weeks now (not perfect, but healthy and moderate) and the results are evident. I feel so much better. Why is it so easy to forget how important it is to eat right?!
I’m in week 10 (of 23) of my “stepping stone” training schedule for the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon in October (which was my first race ever, my first marathon and also my fastest marathon). This race is going to be far from a PR, which is why I’m referring to it as a stepping stone race toward bigger goals next year. Going from casually running 4 or 5 days per week to 6, hitting 50+ weekly miles and incorporating quality work again has been an adjustment, but over the past couple of weeks I finally feel like I am hitting a “sweet spot” in my training. I have a good routine, I’m seeing pace improvements, getting the miles in and feeling stronger all the time.
This week, despite being perhaps the hottest and most humid week I have experienced in my running career, ended up being the best running week I have had in as long as I can remember. I hit the pavement by 5:00AM four days in a row, and thankfully I had a friend or more to run with 3 out of 4 days. With the humidity making it feel like well over 30C/86F already at that time Tuesday to Friday, each run brought new meaning to the term “sweat fest.” But somehow, I ended up having really solid runs and truly surprised myself.
Tuesday – Killed my 4×2000 tempo run on Tuesday, hitting paces a solid 10-15 seconds per kilometre faster than I have been seeing this session. Seriously wondered if it was a fluke.
Wednesday – Solo medium-long 15K run, which also went really well. Hmmm, maybe not a fluke.
Thursday – Met Kelly to tackle workout #2, with adjustments due to the temps, and it went so much better than I anticipated. I managed 2×2000 tempo pretty close to my paces from Tuesday. Not a fluke; I think this might be a breakthrough week!
Friday – Joined Kelly again for the first half of her long run, running a strong pace for a decent distance.
Saturday – Consciously took it as easy as possible on a short run to save myself for the long run.
Sunday – Longest run since October (30K/18.6mi) – felt strong start to finish even on a super hilly route. Thank goodness the heat finally broke!
Don’t get me wrong – I know that a few good runs don’t automatically translate to nailing the remainder of my training, or that it’s going to be a piece of cake from here on out. Far from it! But I’m really pumped about a KILLER training week and proud of how far I’ve come. So, the next time I have a really tough run or fail miserably at a workout, I’m going to remember that I am as good as my best runs and I am more than capable of success. Bring. It. On.