Why I love the blogging world:
It has been a while since I have written a post about running and fitness, sorry. Unfortunately this means that things have not been going that brilliantly for me on the running front and so I have not really wanted to go over it again by writing about it. However, recently I have read a few things and had a bit of a re-think which in turn is a reminder as to how much I love being part of the blogging community.
Piece of advice: 1
A few weeks ago I subscribed to a newsletter from Chris Williams, a runner I follow on Twitter. I was drawn by the promise of a free e-book about running and eating, something I really need to address. (How shallow am I?) I am pleased that I did however, because the newsletters have been interesting. For more information see here. In the last letter he talked about all runners being like one of three animals. Now I don’t want to go into too much detail so I don’t upset him but basically the ideal is to become focused so that you regularly make improvements in your running. Now obviously this would be amazing if we really could do this and it is an admirable goal but is it truly manageable?
Setting goals is good but can you expect yourself to be able to improve indefinitely? (Or am I being too dramatic here?) What about the flip side and you do not manage to achieve the goals you set yourself? Now I am not good at setting goals but I do expect myself to run fairly consistently and when I don’t I get upset and demotivated.
Piece of advice: 2
Travelling Hopefully recently wrote this post where she basically said do not forget to run for enjoyment. This made me think as I really was not enjoying my running at all. My times had dropped through the floor, I was not able to run the distance that I set myself and generally felt as if I was running backwards. I found this REALLY frustrating, especially as a few weeks before I had been going better than I had for a long time. Even the fact that I was not alone in feeling like this was not much comfort.
Piece of advice: 3
I then remembered this post I had read by Fitnitchick about exercising when ill, well to be exact 5 reasons not to.
This made me think. I had not been 100% recently but I had carried on as before, expecting my body to continue to work as normal – even to continue improving my running times. If I had set goals I would have still expected to reach them. Crazy right? I wonder how many of you are a bit like this and get frustrated when your body does not do as you are willing it to. We live in a very competitive society and are continually comparing ourselves to see how we measure up against ourselves and others. As a result we (well definitely I), find it very hard to slow down and give ourselves a break. It is far too easy to see yourself as under-performing and even ‘failing’.
As Chris Williams says, setting goals is important if you want to continue to improve. As a runner this is important as improving is one of those things that helps to keep you going. However, it is also important to listen to your body as Fitnitchick advises. We are not machines and there will be times when things do not go according to plan. This IS OK, and to a degree we need to allow for this. We (or I) must however learn to ACCEPT this in order to prevent us from completely running ourselves into the ground and becoming totally demotivated (oops no pun intended ;)). Finally, but no less important is Travelling Faithfully’s advice to enjoy it.
All three of these pieces of advice are very much interlinked: If you are ill you will not improve, perform or enjoy it. If you do not set goals and make plans you may not improve, may get an injury and will not get as much enjoyment from it. If you are not enjoying it you will be unlikely to do your best and improve.
Today I enjoyed my run, it was a beautiful day (cold but sunny). I had allowed myself to recover and consequently was able to run more to my expectations. My goals suddenly became more achievable and I am more motivated to go out running tomorrow. Thanks to all this advice I was able to work out that I was not a lost cause and that I just had a bit of a blip. Giving my body a bit of a break allowed me to recover and believe in myself once more. Thank you. What is more I now feel equipped to deal with any more blips that come up in the future (whether I am able to put this into practice and ease up does remain to be seen but I have the knowledge!)
Do you always expect the best from yourself despite changing circumstances?
How much pressure do you feel to continue as normal even when things are not?