Monday Motivation: If it’s not over, you haven’t “failed”

failure success quoteI was supposed to have a good, hard 20 mile tempo run yesterday. Instead, I found myself barely able to slog along for 12 miles before calling it quits and getting pretty upset with myself. I had prepared all week for this workout, I wanted to simulate exactly what I would do for the Portland Marathon and I expected to have a great workout, because all my workouts have been strong lately.

Unfortunately, I got the opposite. My body reminded me that I get tired and things don’t go as planned.  Just because my head says do one thing doesn’t mean that my body will automatically respond. It was a reminder I wasn’t ready to accept. About 6 miles into my run when I realized that I didn’t have it in me to go 20 miles, I made the decision to turn around and head back. I spent the next 6 miles mentally beating myself up, adding insult to injury and ensuring that I finished feeling like a failure.

This was all hard to do, especially because my coach was riding along behind me.

We are all so hard on ourselves. Since we all live in realities viewed from our own perception, it is easy to lose perspective. I had built this workout into a big deal, thinking of it as a “tester” for Portland and putting more stress on myself to run well than was necessary. As my coach kindly reminded me after the run, today was a workout not a race, there should be no pressure. It took half a day for me to really understand that today’s run wasn’t “bad”, I didn’t fail. I am certainly not “weak” as I had thought when I decided not to run the whole 20 miles that morning. I just didn’t have such a good workout and now it is my job to analyze why.

In order to learn, I need to know what happened.

There are a lot of little things I could think of as the reason why, and I’ll be hashing them out. But the point here is that I made a hard run harder than it needed to be. I put too much stress on myself to run perfectly today, when instead I need to be focused on running perfectly on race day. And when my training run didn’t go as planned, I decided to spend half of it mentally berating myself for being weak.

I didn’t need to punish myself. And neither does anyone else ever need to. We can all be our own worst enemies, but life is already naturally challenging. Failure is a part of the journey, it teaches you what not to do. But if you waste valuable time punishing yourself every time yourself every time you hit a snag, it’ll only make your journey that much longer.

There are obstacles in life that you can’t control. The good news is, you can control how you react to different circumstances. I had a rough workout, but that’s okay. They can’t all be great, because then there wouldn’t be any growth on my part. I need “failure” to learn and push forward. And it’s not really failure because I haven’t given up.

I hope my weekend-warrior story motivates you today!

Happy Monday 🙂

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