Sunday is my long run day (like a lot of you). Last week it rained a little on my run… OK maybe more than a little.
Today, though, no rain. Still I woke up tired, it was humid, sore blah blah blah – I just didn’t wanna. Doesn’t matter, the work needs to get done so I dragged my butt out there for 8 miles. I stayed away from the above trail figuring it wasn’t dried out yet (it kept raining all week) and crafted my route. Yes, I got my miles in. It wasn’t a PR, I did walk a couple times, it wasn’t my best work, but I got it done, dammit.
For the record, I’m well aware that listening to someone break down their run is just about the worst. Sorry. Bear with me!
I came out of the gate strong; mile 2 was fairly downhill… then the fade started. The worst was mile 7, where I was going back uphill on the mile 2 territory. I was over a minute slower than mile 6. Mind you, for a long run for me the overall pace was solid and I was happy with what I did. I toughed out mile 8, matching my mile 6 pace for that finisher – that’s good, right?
Well, yeah, but here I am the rest of the day and all I keep thinking about is mile 7… and being annoyed with myself for doing that. Why would I pick out the one bad mile and ignore seven better? What’s up with that thinking?
You Tell Me?!
Have you ever had a week of… anything – diet, exercise, work, laundry, whatever the case may be – where you crushed 6 days. The other day, it just didn’t get done – or it barely got done, just enough to get by. At the end of the week, did you remember the 6 great days? Or were you hung up on the one bad one? Yeah, I get it.
As frustrating as it is, it’s the simple reality that we focus more on our negatives than our positives. I’ve written about this before – science says you should tell yourself 5 positives for every 1 negative. I’m sure we all do that, right? In a world that loves to knock us down, why would we go out of our way to do the same to ourselves or the ones we love?
Clearly I’m not excluding myself; I do it too. I can make arguments about “trying to get better” and “focusing on the areas I need to improve”, and yes there is something to that. For about ten minutes. You think about the good and bad, you determine what you want to focus on next time, make notes if that’s part of your routine, and you move on. At this writing, I finished that run 7 hours ago – still annoyed about mile 7. Dude, let it go.
The Hardest Part is Letting Go
Change is scary. That’s the simple truth. The longer you’ve been doing the same thing, the harder it is to make a move. Ask yourself this, though – is it working for you? If the answer is yes, then you’re good. If not, well, I’ve got news for you: if nothing changes, then nothing is going to change.
Read that again: if nothing changes, then nothing is going to change.
If you need to make a move for you, for your health (mental, physical, emotional), then nothing is going to happen until you make it happen. If you beat yourself up over the one bad instead of focusing on all the good, you need to find a way to change that. Assign yourself a task to look in the mirror and tell yourself you are awesome every day, multiple times. Spend 5 minutes celebrating the targets you hit each day. PR your bench press, you earned a happy dance. Hit your step goal, high five someone. Who cares if they think you are weird – you set a goal and hit it.
We spend too much time on the bad and don’t celebrate the good often enough. So cut yourself a break and enjoy every mile – especially the good ones!