“Win Every Practice”
I read these words at the gym Sunday morning during my long run. They were printed on the back of a fellow gym-goer’s shirt. I love them. And I felt like they were speaking directly to me.
Allow me to explain. See, when I’m training for a race, I treat every run as a practice. I set goals, I demand the best of myself and I in turn expect the best from every run – in essence, I strive to “win every practice”. On the other side, there’s an old saying in the running world, “A bad run is better than no run at all.” On those inevitable days here and there when I have a bad run, I work really hard to convince myself that saying is true. But deep down, I know I don’t believe it.
Part of the wonderful, OCD side of Running Lindsay is that I hold myself to incredibly high standards every time I step on the treadmill or hit the pavement outside. Every run counts, every practice counts, and I won’t be happy with anything less than the best. When I feel I and my run haven’t lived up to the standards, I get upset and have a hard time putting it behind me. Harsh? Definitely. Horrible? Not necessarily.
I think this attribute has both a positive and negative side – for a runner or anyone in every day life. In life, but especially in running, always expecting the best of myself is how I’ve achieved what I have. I have no coach, no teammates; my success or failure rests solely within me. It’s on me to motivate and push. And I push hard. But I recognize my high standards can be a big negative too. I’ve come to love running for several reasons, a primary one being stress management. Being too hard on myself can take away that aspect and actually give me more anxiety – drilling down to every second, dissecting each speed interval & tracking distance to the exact tenth of a mile. Not exactly a pleasurable, stress-relieving activity.
What I’ve learned though is the key to all of this – as in life – is balance. It’s a delicate balance between pushing hard to be at my very best, yet understanding that not every run can be a perfect A+. Whether I didn’t sleep well the night before, I had a bad day at work or my legs just aren’t having it, sometimes it’s just not my day. And that’s okay!
Don’t get me wrong, OCD Runner Lindsay is still going to strive to “win every practice.” But Happy Runner Lindsay (she’s still in there too) is going to remind her to chill and enjoy it for what it is.
Do you strive to “win every practice” or do you have a more relaxed approach to fitness? Comment or tweet me @runlikeagirl311.