We need to get rid of the word “only” from our vocabulary. Things are not “only”, they just are and the fact that we don’t celebrate the hours and focus on the “only”…well that my friend is a big problem! I hear from so many runners (and I’m guilty of it myself) that they are “only” running blank number of miles. Whether you are running 2 steps or 100 miles “only” has no business being part of that statement. “Only” sets us up for two huge pitfalls…1) not all runs have to be or should be long and labor intensive throughout a training cycle and 2) every effort put into training is a victory and meaningful in your path towards the goal you have established to accomplish.
Training cycles are meant to rise and fall. I did not understand that concept when I began running distance events 11 years ago. I went all out for every run and tried to keep at my race pace. Physically I was exhausted and finding that my body was taking a beating. I experienced several overuse injuries and was constantly chasing recovery but never really caught up to feel healthy. Without realizing it I was placing limitations on myself by not respecting the ebb and flow of my training plan. I went years pushing hard and missing out not only on the joy of running, but also being able to show up to a start line healthy and physically ready to tackle the event. Eventually this weighed on my emotional connection to running and I stopped. I don’t call this time a break, since that implies that I was still in love with the sport and just stepping back to recharge. No, I was done. I was stressed out and my body had enough. If only (pun intended) I had known what the mindset of “only” had set me up for. After a long absences from the sport I once loved and had fueled my soul with joy, confidence, and purpose I returned. wiser (thanks Coach Nora – Team Bird Training) and respectful of the variations that is a smart training plan. All runs have a purpose and are equally important. No more “only” runs. When it is time for a slow long run I relish in the miles taking in the views, tempo days are reserved for all out effort, and rest/recovery is enjoyed.
Training is no joke! There are times that you will not want to get dressed and run. Some runs will suck beyond belief, but throwing “only” into the mix will only compound the negativity that you are feeling. EVERY effort you put into training is a victory…even if it is a small one. There are days that just getting out the front door is a huge win and any miles that come from that run are icing on the cake. After adding to my running resume and several ultra events in recent years I found myself underscoring the value of my shorter runs. Like they were beneath me (man that sounds arrogant – sorry, that’s not my intent). As I prepare for the 2018 racing season and in particular the Cellcom Marathon in May I find myself saying “only” again…not cool!!! The truth is each run short or long is going to teach me something. Whether you are a seasoned or new runner, the beauty of each run is the lessons that they teach you. The marathon should be easy for me, I’ve done that a ton of times…WRONG! Finishing any run or race is not a given…EVER! Things can go great or they can go really wrong. There is no room for “only” in your head space when you lace up your shoes and head out for a run. Each step has purpose and is meant to be celebrated. Learning to respect the training journey has been a challenge this time around and adding “only” to by vocabulary is part of the problem.
“Only” has no place in world right now or ever. As I strive to improve as a runner and person I need to strike the mindset of “only” and take each day, run, and experience for what it is – a lesson to be learned and a challenge to be better.
#BeHappy #BeKind #BeActive