Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Balancing My Account

The Runner's World Daily "Kick in the Butt" quote yesterday said:
Games require skill. Running requires endurance, character, pride, physical strength, and mental toughness. Running is a test, not a game. A test of faith, belief, will, and trust in one's self. So hardcore that it needs a category all to itself to define the pain. When game players criticize, it's because they aren't willing to understand, not because they're stronger. Running is more than a sport; it's a lifestyle. If you have to ask us why we run, you'll never understand, so just accept. --Jessica Propst
I read this as I was getting ready to go run Cotton Row.   This quote came on the heels of Coach Eric's quotes on FaceBook:
If you want your dreams to come true you had better be prepared to work for them. Hard work pays off, doing nothing gets you nothing.
You are the catalyst needed to take your performance to the next level. DECIDE to push the next workout or the next 5 minutes, DECIDE that it's going to hurt and accept it gladly, DECIDE that you are in charge of your performance, DECIDE to be the athlete that you dream of being.
I knew the truth was I wasn't up for a "test" (especially one of my own will and belief), I hadn't prepared or worked and I had not made the necessary decisions prior to race day in order to be in charge of my performance, so I shifted my expectations on the front end of the race.  Doing this allowed me (probably for the first time) to NOT beat myself up (even in my mind) after the fact.

Here's the thing...I want a different race day experience.  You've heard it said crazy is doing the same thing and expecting a different outcome.  Well, in order to have a different experience, I know I have to do different things. 

Eric is right...I am the catalyst needed to take my performance to the next level.  My perceived ability is not the catalyst.  The main reason for that is how flawed my perception is regarding my ability.  Also, the whole POINT of training is to make ability better.  If I allow my flawed perception of my ability to determine what I do in training I am not going to push and will not ever be the athlete I dream of being.

Think of training as making deposits into an account.  The amount of the deposit is directly related to my effort and my adherence to the training plan (yes, it's also directly related to the quality of the plan, but I believe I have a top notch coach which equals a top notch plan so that is the constant in this equation).  The more effort I put into the workout and the more closely I follow the training plan  exactly as written, the more I will be depositing in my account. Side note...Following the plan "exactly as written" means easy is easy and hard is hard.  The more I deposit into my account, the bigger the withdrawal can be on race day.

Think of it like working on commission!  When you work on commission and there is only one constant (ie WHAT you are selling), you are completely in control of your pay check.  You can make excuses about it ("No one wants to by ice in Alaska, I can't sell it.") but the truth is you are in complete control (move to Arizona).  The one constant in this equation I've set up is the training plan (and even that could be changed if I didn't trust my coach...which I do).  All I have to do in order to have a big balance available to me on my next race day is to DECIDE to follow the plan exactly as written and to give everything I have in every workout.

Rather than making excuses for poor performance or for missing workouts I want to see what it would be like to give everything I have to the training process.  In the past I have settled for less.  I've given less in workouts because I've been tired or scared or lacking in confidence in my abilities.  Then on race day, in the back of my mind, I tell myself I have more to give, which sets me up to have a higher expectation of myself than what my training had prepared me to have.

I've seen other people do this...not train for a race and still do very well.  Other people can do it, but I haven't yet found the way to do this.  ((I think the reason other people can do it is because they've done the hard work at some other time in their lives and have confidence in their abilities or are willing to push HARD in a race and accept the consequences, like being really sore, afterward.))  I think I'm more of a "live within my means" kind of gal.  I have been burned by credit before so I like to know how I will pay for things before I buy them.  Yes, I'm talking about real money right now, but the same way of being transfers into athletic training as well.   Knowing how I am, how I think, helps me in all areas of my life.  Knowing I most likely won't push harder in a race than what I've prepared for in training tells me what I have to do--and it's NOT to expect myself to push harder in a race.

I have decided I want a different racing experience.  Instead of beating myself up after the fact because I didn't make a bigger withdrawal than what I had deposits to support...I'm going to make the necessary deposits each and every day in order to CASH THAT CHECK on race day without going into the red!

Thanks for stopping by, come again soon!!

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