True story — I ran my fastest 5K, sub 24 minutes, with my hip bones and shoulder out of alignment this past September because I am hard-headed, and I wanted to prove a point; running is at least 90% mental. I consistently run 15K, 10 milers, and half marathons at a speed of 8:16 to 8:38/mile. I place in the top 5% for my age group in distances ranging from 5K to half marathons. My training pace is between 9:30 to 10:00 minute miles. I have two years of data, 2500+ miles, stored on Strava from my Garmin watch. But you will rarely see me train at my race pace.
So how do I do it? I have taught myself to train on tired legs. Very tired legs. And to train on those days even when I feel like I can’t. I have discovered I always have more in the tank then I think I do. Right before a race, I ease up on training to give my body a chance to recover so I race on “fresh” legs; It works every time. And despite others acknowledging running is mental as clearly my race strategy is, rarely do people spend enough time building up their mental strength.
Every day we make decisions that either progress or regress us towards our goals.
We each have 24 hours in a day. Do you choose to prioritize your health with an hour of exercise daily?
Do you continue to push your goals off until tomorrow? Why not start today? What are you waiting for?
Do you quit because you don’t see instant results? According to Strava, based on millions of users, January 19 is the gym’s quit date. If you think you are going to get in wicked results in 3 weeks, think again. I just ran a sub 24 minute 5K. Do you know how many years of consistent running it has taken me to run this pace?
Many people also fail to acknowledge that health is a lifestyle. In August of 2018, my weight was at 169. Today, I weigh in between 140 to 142. It took me two years to lose nearly 30lbs. I focus on sustainable results. After going through surgical menopause, decades before my body was supposed to, I began to experience adverse reactions that started with weight. I even paid money to a “licensed” dietician who advocated for a lowfat and low calorie diet that nearly destroyed my metabolism with serious health implications. I even tried diet pills. It took almost a year to reset my metabolism to normal. I don’t subscribe to calorie counting; just clean eating. And yes, I do love organic gummy bears, the worst thing I consume to this day.
I do believe in electronic journaling for weightloss. Garmin and Strava have changed my life! There are days I will run around in a circle if my goal is short a quarter mile. These little pushes add up to big changes over a course of a year.
Do you handle a bad day with a bottle of wine or a long run?
Do you choose to park your car in the spot closest to the store entry or across the parking lot for a few extra steps?
Do you choose to take the elevator, or do you choose the stairs?
How do you reward yourself after weightloss or race milestones? Do you choose cake to celebrate? I choose Lululemon.
Do you make excuses why you can’t do something instead of finding ways to get it done? My bike has been off alignment the last couple of months and not going as fast as I would like. It hasn’t stopped me from riding. I rode 100+ miles this past week. I understand I am not going as fast as I would like, but I keep it going.
Are you whining over running cramps, or do you embrace the suck and know it will get better with time? I have had all sorts of mishaps in 2020, including food aversions that resulted in not so pleasant reactions. It hasn’t stopped me from 1,200+ miles in 2020! I have had plenty of days running with cramps and not feeling my best; try running with your bones out of alignment if you think your cramp is not pleasant. Embrace the discomfort. You will love your pain-free runs that much more.
Do you use excuses NOT to go to the gym because you don’t feel attractive enough? Please. I got my hair cut off this year, and eyebrows messed with while sleeping. Try that for not feeling attractive!
Do you watch what you eat? For example — I love Chic-Fil-A; I am a frequent visitor for their market salad, no cheese with grilled chicken nuggets; I rarely french fries and refrain from my former favorite, the original Chic-Fil-A sandwich with extra pickles. That sandwich contradicts my health goals.
When life kicks you in the a-s, do you become a victim to your circumstances or keep progressing your goals? In 2020 alone, I got divorced, a car accident that left my car totaled, my hair cut off, gained and lost employment, and all the races I train for were canceled. I could have curled up in a ball and become a victim of my circumstances, or I can keep it moving. I choose to keep it moving. I do not subscribe to the victim mindset.
Your race got canceled? Great, all the more reason to double down on training, knowing when race time comes, you will be that much better prepared! If you choose to train for external rewards and to post your finisher medal on social media, you are not preparing for the right reasons.