In light of my last post, Coach Eric sent me my "bank statement" showing my training data from the last five months. There were a lot of holes in there from times I had not reported my workouts so I went back to my log and my data and filled in as many as I could. In the process I took a close look at my day-to-day workout reports.
Here's the thing...I would have said I did about 70% of the workouts as written. Uh...maybe up until the last couple of months...(I didn't go back and look at every day)...but from mid March until now I have either made excuses for not doing the work out at all, doing a different workout for whatever other excuse, or made excuses for why my workout wasn't up to par.
Let me talk in terms of my bank account analogy...I think that will make it easier for me.
I have "always" been very good at managing money. By that I mean I can take a meager salary (by my own standards) and stretch it to get what I WANT while still paying my bills and not paying with credit most of the time (and not ever without a plan on how to pay it off). What I want has typically revolved around travel. As a single mother I took my kids to Florida, the Grand Canyon my son to Europe and my daughter to New York City. (My daughter had a trip to Europe too, but that was funded by my sweet husband.) All the while I made a sizable house payment and paid my bills on time. I was able to do this because I watched EVERY SINGLE PENNY. I didn't buy Starbucks unless I could legitimately afford it in my budget. I planned out about a year in advance for everything. I played nothing by ear and took nothing for granted.
The key to a good budget is knowing exactly where/how you spend your money, knowing exactly what your monetary goals are, having a plan and FOLLOWING that plan. I did that for the most part. I might modify things along the way to accommodate various changes (I want some new shoes so I have to give up some entertainment money). I didn't let opinions about my salary control my spending (my opinion or others'). I took what I earned (my deposits) and made it work for what I wanted (my withdrawals). I didn't live beyond my means and I didn't squander my earnings then turn around and say "I can't afford what I want because I don't make enough money." I also didn't play it by ear then wonder why I didn't have the things I wanted.
Bringing this back around to my training...in the past I have tried the strategy of just going out and doing what feels okay at the time (playing things by ear). I have tried having a plan and not following it closely, doing part of the workouts or not giving them my all (not following the "budget"). I have tried thinking I could do better on race day than what I have prepared for ("living beyond my means"). These have all lead to frustration. I think the thing I really didn't fully see is just ow far off I allowed myself to get in training and how it has all added up.
I can't honestly say I have wondered why I haven't had better results. What I can say is that I have lazily settled for results below what I truly desire. But...here's why I'm a hypocrite...I have seen other people do this and have preached to them exactly what they need to do. "If you want to do your best on race day...all you have to do is follow the plan AND do your best in training." "You say you can't do a workout because 'life got in the way', all you have to do is make a plan to make it happen...don't allow life to be the boss of you!" "Make, and follow, a plan or plan to fail." I've spent the last two and a half years beating myself up over not meeting my own expectations (usually unspoken) when I've been in control of not only the goal, but also the plan, and the effort.
Here's the thing...I am NOT saying everyone has to be a competitor. But don't say you are and then fail to train and compete. I'm not saying everyone has to train, but don't be upset if you don't meet a goal. I'm not saying everyone has to have a goal, but don't be upset by the fact you don't seem to be getting anywhere or that you don't like where you are.
I see this more often in the area of food. People will say they want to lose weight, but they have no idea how much, or what kinds of foods they are eating. I have said I want to lose weight but have made choices along the way to give up what I want MOST (to lose weight) for what I want now (just a tiny piece of chocolate pie).
I'm a hypocrite because I KNOW the "right" things to do, and am critical of myself and others for not doing them. It's one thing to read Coach Eric's status updates on FaceBook that say, in effect, if you aren't having the results you want, take a look at the effort you are putting forth and seeing my own data staring me in the face. For the record, he has never said to me, "HEY! YOU, DANA, aren't doing what you are supposed to be doing--that's why you aren't having the results you desire." ...he just allowed me to discover this on my own, which is having a very powerful effect on me.
I just hope I can hold on to this determination to seriously go after what I know I want MOST--to figure out what my best really looks like and to DO IT. The hard part is knowing what that means. It's "easy" to say "I want to save up for a trip to Venice" and them make that happen (at least it would be for me). Knowing what "my best" is and getting there is something no one else has any control over or say in. Eric can't tell me if I am giving all I have in a work out on any given day. Eric can't tell me how fast I "should" be able to run/bike/swim.
I want to be VERY CLEAR here...I am NOT beating myself up. I'm taking an honest evaluation of myself. In terms of the money analogy, I'm looking at my income and my expenses and financial goals, coming up with a serious budget and making firm plans to follow the budget. In terms of the food analogy, I am taking a serious look at my food diary (with no exceptions made for just a bite of this or a taste of that), coming up with a realistic diet, buying the food to make it happen and making a firm commitment to sticking with the plan.
I'm writing this out because I know I'm not the only one in this boat. It's too easy to change goals mid-plan. It's too easy to "decide" I don't really want to compete, I just want to have fun. I know that's now what I really want (the desire I believe, for whatever reason, God has put in my heart) because of how disappointed I feel after the fact.
Again, I am not saying everyone should want to compete...some people I've known have had just the opposite experience. They have this natural ability and compete VERY WELL but are unhappy...because their heart's desire is to just have fun and not allow the competition to have the control. They need to leave the Garmin at home and just have fun.
I'm boldly saying I believe God made me a competitor. He didn't make us all the same, thankfully, but He did make me this way and I'm ready to embrace it, to submit to it and to stop questioning it.
Man...three posts in less than 24 hours...I'm on a roll here. :D
Thanks for stopping in again...come again soon!