“REMEMBERING WHY” AND “KEEP GOING " QUOTES: “Whatever it was”, Amanda Brooks writes in her email newsletter “Run To The Finish”, that motivated runners to take “that first step and keep going”, sometimes we need help remembering it, when we lose sight of that reason and the heart to continue.
Runners and non-runners who work to improve performance and health through physical activity and training might find inspiration from the words of others. Especially when enthusiasm dips, progress stalls, and meeting such goals seem less achievable.
Although Brooks’ newsletter post provides multiple offerings in several categories, which include Marathon Training; Personal Growth; Keep Going; and Remembering Why, readers don’t need to be to runners or training for a marathon to discover a saying that’s personally up lifting.
I liked Meb Keflezighi’s perspective on running, found in the “Remembering Why“ category. “Most of us have enough areas in our lives where we have to meet others’ expectations. Let your running be about your own hopes and dreams,” the great Olympic marathoner urges.
My barrier to fulfilling running hopes and dreams is avoidance of non-running work. I have no problem getting out and running; it’s support work that I put off, even though doing so can be a dream ending habit. Part of the problem is that the consequences of neglecting important training program components like strength training, balance work, and recovery activities aren’t experienced immediately. Instead, barely perceptible discomforts sneak into legs and hips, core, and even shoulders after months or even weeks. These physical twinges are signaling that risk of sidelining injury is increasing. In the past I would ignore them and suffer a setback. Now I know it’s wisest to back off and take a break.
But recurrent running breaks, cycles of stopping and re-starting to prevent injury, are motivation killers when they interrupt a many-months-long training program designed to prepare for a specific goal event.
I have learned, after experiencing a variety of soft tissue problems (almost anything doesn’t involve an injury to bone), that the way to avoid such preventative cycling is to faithfully perform non-running work. To be smart about enjoying the fun of running while embracing the training that safely allows it. To find inspiration to perform the grit-your-teeth-and get-it done sessions that keep me on track for success. But easier said than done!!!
Right now, I’m training to complete a 26.3-mile distance in the FIRST EVER VIRTUAL Boston Marathon. In 2021 the famed footrace of elites is scheduled to be held in October rather than April and to include a field of virtual runners, including me, who don’t qualify by time but by merely paying a registration fee.
It’s a so very exciting yet scary opportunity, as the calendar change is a big hurdle. For me, cold weather training for a spring race is physically far easier than hot weather training for one in the autumn. And socially easier too; the winter is a more isolating and quiet time, during which adhering to a strict exercise and nutrition program is less difficult. Summertime means vacations, visits from loved ones, and weekend gatherings. Marathon preparation programs in which progressively longer mileage sessions and their accompanying physical demands build week by week are not much fun. In this summer season full of fun temptations abound to stray and break from the rigid regimen.
But participating in this year’s virtual Boston race will be the closest I will ever, ever come to completing the real iconic annual event. I signed up as soon as registration opened because there was no way I wanted to miss it. Adhering to the marathon training program is crucial in these few months prior to race day, October 11
When Amanda Brooks’ newsletter article arrived by email, I hoped it would include a much-needed inspirational boost. It did. Meb’s encouragement was a reminder that the 2021 Virtual Boston Marathon provides me with a one-time chance to race “Boston”. And that to be healthy to run it, I’ll need to train wisely to find my own way to success, avoiding breaks by adhering to a sound non-running workout schedule.
I also need to face the possibility I won’t be ready on race day. Adapting a schedule to one that enables slower progression to longer mileage weeks in August-September-October and allows greater recovery time (like Meb suggests for older runners) could mean it won’t be safe to cover the marathon distance on that exact calendar date of the premiere New England event. Quite possibly (oh no!!!) my race day will be a week or more later.
This is the tough decision that Keflezighi’s quote will hopefully guide me to make when the time comes, to follow my dream of completing this virtual marathon yet not trying to meet others’ expectations of doing so on the official day. I’m almost embarrassed to admit contemplating this move. Every other virtual participant will be planning to run on THE DAY, along with the rest of the real field of runners.
However, in my heart I am with the rest of the field EVERY DAY during these training months and that form of comradery will need to suffice if I am to avoid sidelining injury and be well enough to go the distance.
Another quote, from Amby Burfoot in the “Keep Going” category in the Brooks’ piece, was a reminder that my struggle with difficult workouts and recovery efforts, specifically non-running training, of necessity will be an integral part of the accomplishment. “Winning has nothing to do with racing. Most days don’t have races anyway. Winning is about struggle and effort and optimism, and never, ever, ever giving up.”
Struggle on with your challenge, whatever it is, and believe that with “effort and optimism,” it will bring a personal win. Perhaps you’ll find inspiring and encouraging quotes in Brooks piece to help you through your struggle.
RUN & MOVE HAPPY!
BRIDGE TO PHYSICAL SELF
Running, walking, and fitness activities enable us to experience our physical selves in a world mostly accessed through use of fingers on a mobile device.
EARNED RUNS is edited and authored by me, runner and founder. I began participating in road races before 5Ks were common. I've been a dietitian, practiced and taught clinical pathology, and been involved with research that utilized pathology. I am fascinated with understanding the origins of disease as well as health.
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