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For some people dreaming big seems to come as naturally as breathing. They’re always thinking about a next adventure or challenge to take on. Their default mode seems to be “bring it on.”
But many of us struggle with anxiety and self-doubt which makes setting goals much harder. I have to admit that my first thought after hearing about a big goal or challenge is often, “I could never do that.”
That’s how I responded to two ladies who were telling me about the requirements to join the Marathon Maniacs Club.
Deconstructing a Huge Running Goal
It was the morning before my 4th marathon and I was thinking about how challenging it had been to train for the marathon with a 6 year old, a 4 year old, and an 8 month old who I was still breastfeeding (not to mention growing our business). Just getting through daily life often seemed like a challenge. That is why my reaction bordered on incredulity at the thought of doing two marathons in two weeks or three in ninety days.
Of course looking back nine years later I see that it was possible and how it all came together. After I finished three marathons that fall in 35 days it definitely reset my definition of what was possible.
It wasn’t much longer before the idea of running a marathon in all 50 states started to take shape. Some years it felt like I was hardly making any progress toward my goal. When I went through my hormonal imbalance I wondered if I’d ever feel good and enjoy running again.
Have you ever thought or said, “I could never do that”? Maybe a half marathon, a marathon, an ultra, or getting faster still seem so far out of reach. You’re not alone if you feel intimidated by big goals.
Or maybe you don’t have a problem setting big goals but you do struggle with the follow through. Maybe you’ve abandoned many a training plan midway through when life got in the way. Maybe you’ve settled for not getting faster because it’s a lot of hard work.
I believe that having short term and long term goals is positive and healthy. If you want to challenge yourself and do bold things it’s important to look at a few factors first.
Think big but start small.
When I first started long distance running the thought of doing one marathon was overwhelming. Running a marathon in all 50 states wasn’t even on my radar. With every challenge you overcome you become a new and stronger version of yourself….capable of taking on more.
Remember that the training run you do today is working to make you into the badass runner that you want to be. Doing that strength work and getting more sleep are the things that are going to help transform you from accomplishing small things to eventually accomplishing much more.
Remember that you are capable of more than you think.
You are capable of more than you can ever imagine. And it’s totally fine if a certain goal that “everyone else” is doing doesn’t appeal to you. I’ve had people ask me when I’m going to do a 100 miler. But at this point that distance doesn’t really appeal to me (although I’ll never say never).
Whatever goal that you set remember that the mind is still a battle ground, whether it’s your first 5k or your 63rd marathon. You’re going to have all sorts of interesting things running through your head, many of which aren’t helpful. Start to feed yourself positive affirmations on a regular basis. It’s like eating your veggies first. They’re good for you and you won’t have as much room for other less healthy options.
Be far sighted and near sighted!
Look ahead but also look right in front of you. Any trail runner knows that it’s important to pay attention to the path in front of you. Get too caught up in looking around and you’re liable to trip on a root, rock, or hole and fall. But if you don’t take time to look around and appreciate the view you’re also not getting all that you could out of the experience.
It’s the same with goal setting. It’s important to look ahead and plan. To keep an eye out for obstacles in front of you. But it’s equally important to look around and appreciate how far you’ve come.
One way you can enjoy the journey is to appreciate the little victories (or vistas if we stick with the trail running analogy). We often expect the finish line or the end of a big goal to be some sort of nirvana. But most of the truly meaningful moments come along the way as you struggle, as you celebrate the little wins, and as you grow in strength and resilience.
I think one of the interesting things about racing is that you never know if your best race is behind you or ahead of you. When I think about running sub-3:20 I’m full of gratitude but there’s always that thought that I’m capable of more. But life can be unpredictable and there are many things that we can’t control.
We can only show up day after day and do our best. I’ve heard from a lot of 40+ women that accomplishing this goal was very inspiring to them. It’s good to know that we can go through ups and downs in our running and still be capable of running PR times after age 40.
Also Mentioned in This Episode
Karen Hendricks -Harrisburg runner and writer for The Burg who is doing 50 races for charity to celebrate turning 50.
MetPro.co, a concierge nutrition coaching company. Angie has lost 32 pounds working with a MetPro nutrition coach. To see if MetPro is the solution you’ve been looking for, take their Metabolic Assessment, and schedule a complimentary consultation with one of their experts go to MetPro.co/mta
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