If you have read my blog from the beginning (coming up on 9 years of blogging?!) then you will remember about 582 of my failures on the way to get to some of my running goals (I have some even crazier ones now;). There were years of injuries and coming in WAY short of my goals. I’m thankful for those years of growth and some of those mistakes made on the way because they made finally hitting a few goals feel so much cooler.
Theresa asked if I would share the top things that have helped me over the years so here they are. PS some days are just bad days/races no matter what you are doing with your training… I’m just talking about some of the things I can control in this post:
*Brain training… and a lot of it. I focus on working on cheering for myself now rather than being hard on myself during a race/run and it has made the world of difference. I focus on gratitude when things get hard and stay in the mile rather than feeling anxiety over what is to come. These two books HERE and HERE changed my running brain and I am so thankful for them. This podcast and this podcast are two that also really helped! I realized you have nothing to lose by telling yourself you WILL do something. If you truly believe you can do something then when your body gets tired during the race you won’t slow down because you believe deep down in your core that you can do it. And if you don’t hit your goal after telling yourself you WILL… who cares? Your family and friends will love you all the same and you’ll just keep working until you do hit it. Leading up to my sub 3 I only spoke about that race saying I would come under 3 and that was very different compared to previous years when I would talk/think about my upcoming marathon and say these types of things—> ‘I think I can, maybe, sort of, probably, if I’m lucky, if the stars align, someday.’ Tell yourself you WILL do it and your body will follow your head’s lead.
*I became stubborn with my goals. Our brains want to quit way before our bodies have to and once we become stubborn with what we want out of life, we don’t settle anymore. I used to fold every time I got tired and I finally decided that I wasn’t going to let fatigue take away what I wanted.
*I take my slow days a lot slower than I used to. I think I used to only do fast days and medium-fast days. And now on my easy runs if it doesn’t feel easy then it means I need to slow down and I do. I have told my running partners many times that I need to slow down on my easy days. I take a rest day each week and I really prioritize sleep. If it comes between choosing to watch tv and going to bed early… I choose going to bed. I’m in a place right now in life where I can get at least 8 hours of sleep each night and I choose that because I love how much better I feel (I know this is not possible for everyone and when my babies were younger I’m right there too with the lack of sleep)! There are many nights I put the kids down and then put myself down for the night too ha but it’s a sacrifice I’m willing to make (okay… not really a sacrifice because I love sleep) to improve my running.
*I eat a lot more food. Sometimes I look back on old posts of mine and wonder what in the world I was thinking. I survived off of salads, skittles, and sweet potatoes (which are all good things but I need much MORE). I got injured every time I went above 55 miles per week when I was eating this way and I never properly recovered. I feel like my running is SO much stronger now that I eat things like burgers at lunch or rice bowls for dinner. The more calorie dense my meals are, the better I feel and run. YES, salads are delicious and can include so many great nutrients and plenty of calories too… but for me, I run better with more dense meals (and way more fat than I ever used to eat) and I eat a lot less salads than I used to.
Who knows what is happening in this picture from 2010 but after this race my body completely crumbled because I was undereating and not taking care of myself.
*Life is just different and that makes a big difference. I feel like shortly after I started blogging, my life kind of exploded. There were years of heartache and dealing with terrible issues and while yes I still have daily stressors/problems (like all of us do), my world is completely different now. Realize that life stress/trials can really take it’s toll on us and go easy on ourselves. When I look back at those years I wish I would have gone a little easier on myself, dealt with what I needed to deal with and realized that the sleepless nights, rivers of tears and large amounts of emotional stress really wiped me out and I was not in a place mentally to hit my running goals. I was emotionally on empty. We can train and hit our goals when life is hard too but sometimes life really takes over and running goals will always be there for you when you are ready to get back to them.
*Coaching. I can’t even tell you how much of a difference having a good coach will make in our running. They see the big picture much better than we do and can really help us make huge leaps in our speed and endurance. I’ll never go for a big speed goal again without a coach!
*I took my race day nutrition a million times more serious. I crashed in a lot of my races in the past simply because I ran out of gas. We don’t expect our cars to run without gas so why in the world would we expect our bodies to go without glycogen?! THIS BOOK helped me a ton with this all. Taking gels during a run/race used to be a chore for me but with practice (a lot of it) they don’t bother me at all anymore. I have actually turned pretty strict with my nutrition during races especially… I told myself during my ultra if I couldn’t make sure that I was taking in calories every 30 minutes then I had no right to be out there on the course. I start the fueling early in the marathon now and it has changed racing for me. PS you can read my marathon fueling post here.
*I cut ties with placing my worth on the clock. Judging ourselves based upon how our running is going is a sure way to not enjoy running very much IMO. My times used to really effect how I felt about who I was and I am sure that just put so much pressure on myself to perform well that I would explode when it was finally race day. We have infinite worth because we are children of God and that has nothing to do with our running. The good days or the bad days don’t change my worth because that worth is set in stone. Realizing that my worth has nothing to do with my running makes the setbacks or bad running days easy to handle and bounce back from = getting faster!
*I race a lot more. For me this has helped me a ton! Races used to make me so nervous (I swear that is why I used to deal with IBS around big races so much more and now I never do) and now I do them so often that they are just another day to go out and do what I love to do. This one kind of goes with the above one but once we stop tying our worth with our performance… we enjoy racing so much more. The more races I do, the more I just go out and try my best and that’s all I can expect!
*I’ve heard/read (who knows if they are credible sources… I’m just going to keep believing it #placeboeffect) that women endurance athletes peak in their 30s and I won’t argue that. The older I get the stronger I feel.
And that was a whole lot of words so here is a short summary of our Sunday:
Brooke made a loaf of bread (with the bread machine) all by herself (I helped her by getting out the right measuring cups:)!
Andrew made the honey butter and the combo was perfect.
We went to church and Skye sat on my lap for 20 minutes during the first meeting which might be a new record for her since her infant days:)
Lots of relaxation.
Someone decided to skip her afternoon nap so bedtime was even earlier than normal for her.
I love her love for stuffed animals (and can you see my lip gloss on her cheek from a goodnight kiss ha?)
In case you want to check out the most popular posts from last week if you missed them:
What are some things that have really helped you with your running?
What was the best part of your weekend?
Ever make bread? Have a favorite brand of bread?
Anyone ever gotten injured DURING a race?