Running with less stress has been on my mind lately due to the fact that I know many of the rundreamachieve readership are suffering with worry, doubt and concern that they will not reach their goals.
They wonder if their age will hold them back from attaining their performance time goals.
We all have had similar concerns but why? Why do we give our mental energy to things that have not even occurred yet?
It is normal to be nervous of the unknown.
We worry about if the training we are doing is going to pay off, will our boss approve of the amount of time we are devoting to the sport to countless other concerns.
I wasted far too many years of competing worrying far too often over things that simply didn't matter, so this is very close to my heart.
It was simple.
I came to the conclusion that my doubts don't care about me and it is completely pointless to lose sleep over wondering how I am going to race or if I will be able to hold pace.
Your doubts don't care about you either. There is no need to feed them your time or energy. Give those two precious gifts to your family and to your effort.
If you have done the hard work then the rest will take care of itself.
Your goals will eventually come to you.
I have always believed that if someone puts enough initiative toward a goal, even if it borders on the limits of insanity, it will come to fruition.
It looks like this to the outsider looking in, but so be it.
We have a choice whether to worry about every little detail leading into our next workout or race, simply do the work and let the chips fall where they may.
There was a reader who mentioned to me,
I hit the wall even before I start some days.
This is obviously a dedicated athlete but all of us have self sabotaged our efforts in some way and for what, why do we let our doubts get the best of us?
Seth Godin, a multiple New York times best selling author was asked, ‘what makes you so productive‘.
I was struck by his answer, ‘I don't watch television, I don't go to meetings and I do things that I am scared of.
He brings up in his post, Quieting The Lizard Brain, states
We say we want one thing, then we do another. We say we want to be successful but we sabotage the job interview. We say we want a product to come to market, but we sandbag the shipping schedule. We say we want to be thin but we eat too much. We say we want to be smart but we skip class or don't read that book the boss lent us.
The contradictions never end. When someone shows up and acts without contradiction, we're amazed. When an athlete just does the sport, or when a writer just writes the words, we can't help but watch, astonished at the purity of their actions. Why is it so difficult to do what we say we're going to do?
Focus On What You Can Control
Why do we let such meaningless concerns and doubts rule the way we feel leading into a race? I often why I worried about aspects of my racing before the race even began.
Things like what if I don't hit the first 5 miles at the correct pace, will I be able to make that up by mile 15? All these questions, stories that I played in my head that were pointless.
Let go and just do.
Stephen Pressfield says our concerns and doubts stem from a section of the brain called the amygdala or what he terms the lizard brain or the resistance.
It is the part of the brain that is control of fear, rage and reproductive drive. Godin says it perfectly,
the resistance is the voice in the back of our head telling us to back off, be careful, go slow, compromise.
This year, as difficult as it may be, I encourage you to do what Seth Godin does, do the things that scare you. What is your resistance?
If your mind is telling you to be cautious, to not act on your passion, to follow the rules, not question. Do the opposite. I am sick of being scared of aspects of my own life.
I have a fear of public speaking. I have no idea why, where it came from but I am seeking opportunities to speak in public more often this year.
I have done it several times, being an Army Officer, we have to be in front of people a lot, but I am never comfortable in my own skin.
I am not going to question aspects of my training as I have in the past and neither should you. Do the best job you can do in your preparation and put all of your faith and energy into taking comfort in that.
Let the rest go.
Once we over think, especially in preparing for our races or worrying about if we will get to our goal weight, it stops us from being as productive as we could be.
It is cold outside. What will happen if I fail?
So what. Don't think, just act. Challenge the Lizard Brain.