Take Back Your Life: Stop Controlling, Start Enjoying


Then there was a focus on recovery, you HAVE to recover.

But when we say these things to ourselves, that we HAVE to recover, we HAVE to sleep, what happens?

Well, I don’t know about you, but usually that means my body and mind does the opposite.

When I said I NEEEEEDDD to sleep tonight, like I did the night of my last 24 mile run before the London marathon, well, can you guess what happened?

Yep, I slept like 4 hours, and spent the next day in a mad panic.

Or the times I would tell myself that I NEED to nail this workout, I NEED to hit these paces in this workout or I will not be in good shape and I will bomb in the race.

Well, I think you can guess what happened there too.

Tina Coldstream

You know I am a run by feel person, and as much as I love wearing my GPS watch, during workouts I need to not look at it, to not know what is going on.

The more we put this stress on ourselves to do something, the more we struggle with it.

Have you ever been traveling somewhere, and you are running just a few minutes late?

Usually, you would catch those few minutes up, and the journey would be fine, but it seems like that one day, where you keep saying to yourself:

I don’t want to be late, I CANNOT BE LATE!

Well, what usually happens?

We end up stressing out the whole journey, and we are late.

It leaves us in a bad mood, and we go into whatever we are doing with the wrong attitude. Then you do not enjoy the experience, or give off a bad vibe to others, which in turn, makes them feel bad.

Had you just relaxed and told yourself everything will be okay, that you are still you, and no matter what, things will work out.

Then you probably would have made the experience better for everyone, and the situation would have gone better.

Be your own best friend, right?

Now, I am preaching this, but I am just as guilty, actually, probably more guilty than most in this situation, BUT one of the biggest lessons I learned over this past few months was learning to let go of control.

I am by no means over this.

I am definitely a control freak, but as we all know, running is a rollercoaster of ups and downs, and just like there is no way we can control EVERYTHING that happens in 2-5 hour race of a marathon, we cannot control our lives, and the more we try to control them, the more things will start to go wrong.

Have you ever been in the situation where you say:

I cannot get injured. I just do NOT want to get injured, oh, wait, what is that little pain, oh my god I am gonna be injured.

DAMNIT, this is an injury, why does this happen to me? I just don’t want to be injured!?

Does that sound familiar?

I have definitely been there, and that focus on NOT being injured is what gets us into trouble as our balance in life spirals out of control.

This is kind of a glass half empty half full kinda thing.

We think of what we do NOT want, rather than what we do.

I think that is why what Evie said about being your own best friend works so well in a race, but it can also be applied to life too.

When you get one of those little pains, rather than having a battle with yourself about taking time off, we should be proactive, take the day off, put a focus on eating right over the next few days, and allow it to rest as much as possible, while telling yourself that even if it is an injury, there will always be another race, and this is just part of your journey.

Instead, we tend to let it take over our life.

Every minute of the day our mind is overtaken by thoughts of missing our race. Every available opportunity we are prodding it, testing it, trying to see if it has magically healed.

We are going to bed at 7pm trying to get that extra sleep (which of course does not work, and you fall asleep at 1am!)

Last year when I could not take the hint
Last year when I could not take the hint

Suddenly, our minds are stressed again, and we are telling our bodies that there is a major crisis, that it is time to raise those cortisol levels and get into panic mode.

Well now your body is on high alert, rather than allowing it to quietly focus on the one concentrated area that is a little bit stressed.

My point is, that the more we try to control things, the more we try harder and harder for things NOT to happen, the more they are likely to happen that way.

Then of course we think to ourselves; well, yep, of course it happened to me, it aaaaalllways happens to me.

Then you look all around and see everyones smiling faces on social media telling you just how wonderful their own lives are. They are not showing you the horrible run they had yesterday where they sat on their porch for 30 minutes afterwards, tears in their eyes.

No, all we see is their positive, so what do we do?

Try to control even more.

And the more control you try to put on your life, the more it rebels and shows you that you are NOT in control.

Will you vow with me that you will join me in letting go of control?

As much as humanely possible for us Type A personalities, will you allow things to happen, and allow your journey to unfold?

It worked for me towards the end of my segment, and that is why I believe things came together for me at the end and why this European Championships came into my life.

I finally allowed my journey to unfold the way it was always meant to.

I intend to allow life to happen as much as I possibly can, and I may fall off the wagon. I may find myself trying to control things again, and I hope you will let me know if I do

But let’s do this together. Lets work on letting go of control, and allowing life to unfold in the way it was always meant to.


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  • carla birnberg
    June 6, 2016 5:08 am

    ahhh yes! it has taken me decades to learn to FLOW not FORCE and to realize when I try to muscle up the wall (CLIMBING HAS TAUGHT ME SO MUCH) and not step back pause and read the wall (life) FIRST—everything is so so so much more challenging

  • I have struggled with this for YEARS!!! I have to say that I have definitely gotten better but there is still a lot of room for improvement. I will actually be writing about this and how if affected my trip to Italy this week. Thank you for all your honesty here Tina! I cannot tell you how many times I thought of you while I was taking my two weeks of “rest” on vacation. My mantra was “Tina does this too. It’s ok to let go and rest!” < – – Just so you know that you make a difference 🙂 xo

  • Oh yes! So much wisdom here. I too love control and am also type A and it’s something I’m working on and slowly getting better at. Thank you Tina!

  • Yes, working on it as well.

  • Jessica DeGore RD
    June 6, 2016 1:03 pm

    YES YES YES! I think this is something so many of us struggle with, thank you for sharing it so perfectly <3

  • Yes, great post Tina! I used to be such a control freak, and then when I completely changed my career, location, etc I realized that life is best when you roll with what happens rather than trying to control. I definitely still need to improve on letting go of control but your post today was a great reminder that it’s a journey with continuing on.

  • Lisa@runningoutofwine
    June 6, 2016 5:25 pm

    This definitely resonates with me! I have such a hard time letting go of control, and I know that so many of my problems are due to my mind alone. I will be continuing to work on letting go of control!

  • Deal!!! 🙂

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