Thursday, August 22, 2013

Downshifting

Semi-secretly, I have been training for a marathon in the fall, with the hope that it would then springboard me
to a Boston qualifier in the spring.

When I look at that plan now, it seems ridiculous. At the time, it seemed like the big scary goal that I needed to jump start my flagging running habit.

Reality, though, cares not about my plans to run down Boylston a year after two dick-wads defiled it.

Reality is that I have a new (awesome) job that is demanding most of my time and energy. Reality also is that I started this madness in the summer, when I was also spending (precious) time with my kids at home and on the road.

Reality is that my fitness was/is nowhere near ready to take on a marathon training program.

As the training weeks ticked by, and the planned miles climbed ever higher, and my running log was filling with goose-eggs, the weight of mounting failure was exhausting. It was like walking around wearing an overcoat with the pockets full of bricks.

Here, dear runner/reader, is what we call a decision point. A fork in the road.

We could throw up our hands, claim that we gave it our best shot, and quit.

Or, we can buckle down, crank out those miles, and make it happen.

Quit or press the hell on.

Yeah...

I did neither of those. Both of those are stupid.

I adjusted my goal. I downshifted.

Running down Boylston street to show my unwavering support for my sport at for the good people of Boston is a great goal. But my real goal is to get back to running well, and often.

Quitting wouldn't accomplish that, obviously.

Blindly following an unrealistic path that was leading only to more failure wasn't going to do it either.

What could work is to accept my reality and lay a course to a point that is on the path of my long term goal.

So I'm now training for a half-marathon this fall, instead of a marathon.

Once that decision was made, the weight was lifted. I've run more often, and better, and I've even added some strength training.

Having an unattainable goal isn't motivating, it's demoralizing. Having a challenging, attainable goal before you is exhilarating. If pursuit of your goal becomes more stressful than it is rewarding, it might be time to reassess.

Choose your goals carefully. And if you find yourself demoralized, don't be afraid to downshift.

Good running,
Doug