It's Monday and that means it's one of my favorite hashtag days, #MondayMotivation!
I love seeing what everyone is striving for, be it a new PR, logging a certain number of miles for the week/month/year, or just taking the first step to a healthier lifestyle it's truly... well... motivating!
3 years ago, when I was still the Mouse Runner, I set a goal to qualify for and run the Boston Marathon no later than 2017. In 2013, my heart broke for Boston, the running community and America after the Boston bombing in 2013 and I wanted to change my goal and get my behind in gear to be a part of this event.
As I wrote that post in 2013 I sat there thinking I would likely be able to qualify by 2016 but then life happened. 2014 knocked me down and I saw my first injury creep in which frustrated me through 2015. After a progression of setting new marathon PRs I was seeing my times creep up and my races becoming struggle-fests.
This was a hard time that really tested my grit and at times I thought "maybe I can't" but I wasn't ready to give up and because of that I sit here today smarter and more confident after achieving my goal. Here are the 4 things I learned along the way.
1. Be Honest With Yourself
There is no straight shot to achieving a goal. Sometimes you will have steady progression but more than likely something will creep in that will change that progression path. You need to be honest with yourself and honest about where you are, both physically and mentally. If you identify what's holding you back, that's the only way to continue to move forward
2. Ask For Help
I'm independent to a fault. I generally think "what is someone going to tell me that I can't read/listen to/find on the internet" but you know what, sometimes you need help. After having a year and a half of disappointing runs I started working with a coach and not only has he helped me run smarter but he's also helped in ways that I didn't know I needed. He's helped me build confidence and get in gear to really achieving my goals. He's helped me get rid of the "I can't"s. (You can connect with my coach Steven Stam on Twitter)
3. Train Smarter
Intellectually, I knew that tempo runs, speedwork and other training was what I needed to achieve my goals but the "lazy" runner in me just wanted to keep slogging through easy runs. I was putting in the miles, sometimes I'd pick up the pace and I was expecting my abilities to change. I was doing the same thing and expecting different results which is a huge no-no (and a definition of crazy). I started to train smarter and harder, pushing myself beyond my comfort zone and guess what? I got better! Train smarter, not just more.
4. Build Your Confidence
I didn't even realize it but, I was self-sabotaging. I wanted to achieve my goals and I knew I could but that little voice of doubt (sometimes so little I didn't even realize it was there) was always there and even in training, I was self-sabotaging. I had a lot of "I couldn't" or "I don't want to" do that type thing that my coach helped me eliminate. I now feel confident that I can run a speedwork session or a tempo run at 5:30 in the morning and even if I'm tired I can always get the benefit of the workout. Sometimes just getting over these mental hurdles is really what you need. Your brain has way more control over everything than you may think so make sure you are building your confidence along the way!
It hasn't been a perfect journey, heck I thought earlier this year I wasn't going to achieve my goal but after a year of building my running and ultimately my confidence, I stand here finally having achieved my goal...
I will be toeing the start line of the Boston Marathon and run from Hopkinton to Boylston St. on April 17, 2017 and I couldn't be more thrilled and proud. This has been my motivation for the past 3 years and when I stand at that start line it's going to be the cherry on top of an incredible journey of self-growth. I have proven to myself that I can achieve my goals if I put in the work.