In my training update a few weeks ago, I wrote about “the little voice”, which has talked to me a lot in the last month. Before you think I am going crazy, let me explain. Although this can be called different things; a gut feeling, your heart, a pit in your stomach; I think we all know what I am talking about here. It is that feeling you get when you know you are making the wrong choice. Something is wrong.
Sometimes it is necessary to ignore that little voice; when you are near the end of a race, your body is screaming at you to slow down, STOP! You need to ignore the voice, and keep pushing forward, keep driving towards your goals, or later you will walk away from the race with regret.
As we become more invested in running, what we expect out of ourselves increases; you are disappointed if you do not push as hard as last time, or if you ran one second slower than your PR. We are constantly beating ourselves up emotionally as well as physically with our own expectations, which in itself drains our energy….leaving less energy to be used for training/racing.
After my marathon, I felt defeated. Angry at myself for not performing how “I should have” on the day, but that’s our sport…..or anything worth having…….a rollercoaster of ups and downs. I have preached a lot about taking what your body gives you, and I wrote about it in my post on why I am not setting a time goal for my upcoming marathon, if you would like to take a read.
We often become so obsessed with looking at all that we did wrong, that we do not take time to look back and reflect just how incredible the human body is for the adversity it is able to handle.
Running is all about pushing yourself to your limits, putting your body through as much stress as you can to mimic the race, without taking it so far that it breaks down. I have always called this dancing over the injury line; necessary to get to where you want to go, but so easy to go just a little too far and suddenly its too late. That is also why I feel so strongly about taking time off after a major race, your body needs that recovery time.
I just wanted to write this post to reflect, or remind us all of just how wonderful the human body is. We go out onto an unnatural surface, hit it with the force of two to three times our body weight for up to 26 miles at a time (some even longer), and expect it to perform every.single.day. Think about your running shoes, even they begin to compress after a few hundred miles, and they are made from man made materials! Most people in this world struggle to run even one mile, and yet we, as runners go out there for mile after mile, pushing our bodies harder and harder.
We are even able to hold a conversation on “easy days”, which blows the minds of non runners. Sometimes, that body is gonna break down, just to remind you that you are only human! It is important to stop becoming so angry if it doesn’t chose “the right time”…….is there ever a right time? I am very guilty of this, and I am working on this for the future.
Although we compete for ourselves, we are all guilty of feeling that others are watching, waiting for you to fail, whereas realistically it is just you, and the road (or trail/path/grass). After all, running is an individual sport about pushing yourself to be the best you can be.
So, next time a workout or race doesn’t go exactly how you wanted it to, remember all the times it has gone right…..and that the next time it does go right it will feel even better knowing you overcame the bad days. If you ran great every day, you would never appreciate it as you would just expect it.There would be no such thing as a “best”. It is those lows, the challenges we go through, that make those ups become the most cherished moments in your life. I know for me, the feeling when I cross the finish line knowing that I overcame all the challenges, did what I needed to do, and reached my goal is the best feeling I experience on this earth. That is why I run, but I would never have achieved all I have without my setbacks.
So if you are injured/frustrated/lost, just trust that if you perservere it WILL happen. You WILL come back stronger, and it WILL be worthwhile. Imagine yourself crossing the finish line proud of yourself in your dream race….right now….do it…..now I bet that put a smile on your face 🙂 Now let your body tell you what it needs, listen to the little voice, and trust that it will find the path to take you to that goal.
Read my recent post about 5 Tips to Stay Motivated When You Stop Running PB’s (PR’s)
Now here are a few perserverance quotes: Hang in there 🙂
Every run is a gift that should be appreciated…..do you make the most of each of your runs?
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