Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Nobody Said it Was Easy

It's easy to find excuses to blow off a training run nowadays.  We all live such fast-paced lives where we have 36hrs of work and commitments to fit into 24hrs.  We glorify our goals when we first sign up for a clinic or race and make it sound so dreamy.  We picture ourselves out soaring down a trail.  Breathing in the fresh air, sharing the trail with like-minded fun people and visualize our fittest selves finishing a run and feeling fabulous.  Then the reality sets in and we suddenly find ourselves coming home from work 'too tired' or ‘stressed’  We stay late at work or use our children or house work as an excuse... “I can’t possibly go for a run now”  Sound familiar?

Training is actually really, really, hard and I can think of times I have struggled with having excuses in the past.  The last few years, however, I have come up with some tips to help me stay committed to my goals:

1.  SAFE ROUTES – While I love to explore, if I have a 2hr training run to do on a day I am waffling, exploring will be too WAY to easy for me to under commit and come up short.  I will find an excuse to turn around early.  Instead I choose a ‘safe route’.  A route I have ran before that I know will guarantee me a 2hr run.  I have safe routes for varying distances and times.  These runs help you see your goal to the finish.

2.  CUT YOURSELF SOME SLACK – it’s speed training day and I am feeling unmotivated.  What I really want to do is blow off my run and go home.  Instead I compromise and make a new goal to just go ‘run’ without the pressure to suffer like I would with my speed work.   I might choose a hilly route so I have the option to push some intensity if I get my 2nd wind.  I aim to run the same duration my speed work was schedule for.

3.  FOLLOW A PLAN – I follow a detailed training plan and write my runs in my agenda at the beginning of each week.  This way it is visual and I will be more accountable when I know my training expectations and I treat the runs like appointments and this helps me follow through.  Especially on a day where I work, coach, take my son to guitar and we don’t get home until 7pm.  I tell myself throughout the day that it is going to be hard to get my butt going at 7pm so when I get home I don’t try to talk myself out of it.
4.  TAKE IT ONE DAY AT A TIME – this is kind of like racing for me.  At the start of a 50k, I am not thinking about the finish line.  I am breaking it down to the first aid station or 10km.  Same with my training.  If I am tired or unmotivated on Tuesday, I do my best with the run on that day and not worry about how I may or may not be feeling on subsequent runs that week.  It helps to stay focused and present.  I also sometimes use the 15min rule and if after the first 15min I still don’t feel great, then I turn back.  Rarely do I end up turning back as I soon find my groove, connect with nature and am focused on my goal.

5.  TRAIN WITH A GROUP – there are trade-offs when it comes to group training.  Some runs might be slower or faster than your pace. However the motivation, support and friendships that group training gives back, far out-weights the odd compromised pace.  Getting out always has to be the first goal and running with a group is great way to stay committed.  Not to mention the energy of the group pushes you to work harder than you would on your own.

Of course, if you have other health conditions, overtraining symptoms or something more than lack of motivation, going to see your doctor and adding more rest is always your best choice. 

Just remember, you can't fool yourself into shape.  No one said it will be easy.  You have to do the work to see the reward.  What do you tell yourself, day after day?  I know I have had to use less sweet talk and keep it real through the tough training days.  Hard is hard and getting out the door or working through a run on hard day is often exactly where I need to be.  It is these sessions I draw strength from in a race and in life. So, as my friend Heather would say, "don't wait for the sunshine... bring your own."  

No comments:

Post a Comment