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I'll be honest. This week's post is usually about how to train through March break - or while on holiday, how to balance vacation activities and your training schedule. However, as I write this, the Ministry of Health in BC has asked that all events over 250 people be postponed or cancelled, that we avoid large gatherings of people, and many, many people are re considering travelling anywhere. I am not an expert in epidemiology, so I thought I'd write about simply, where we are right now, and what you can do over the next few weeks, with the fitness you have earned so far, and how to keep your motivation moving forward.
If you have been training for one of the many amazing spring races in BC over the past few months you have likely already learned one of the big lessons in sport:
You can’t wait to feel motivated. Motivation happens as a result of good planning and great habits.
It only takes a brief scroll through Instagram to notice that the world is full of inspiring words and photos, however, one of the most important things people learn through this process of following a training schedule, is that habit and action create far more meaningful results, than does reading about motivation or inspiration.
Right now, with x number of weeks remaining until your planned (now cancelled) race day, the goal post has been moved, and I would like to plant the seed that will help you continue your motivation to train, motivation that lasts for a lifetime if you nurture it.
I encourage you to approach the weeks mindfully - that is, do your training, as you have been doing it, with good habits and practices (nutrition etc) - and TRUST that you will be as ready as you can be for some future Race Day.
Your fitness may be to the point where you can work well in discomfort by now, during your faster intervals, but resist the urge to go beyond your scheduled training in the hope that you can boost your fitness even more right now. Stick to the plan - it is good practice for the future.
Resist the urge to test yourself too much, or too many days in a row because you are curious. Save that curiosity and challenge for when it's appropriate in the schedule or you risk leaving your race in a training session. The training over the next weeks is to prepare you for your best effort, not BE the best effort.
With weeks of training under your belt, your body is fitter and stronger, but also is carrying fatigue and you have to be particularly careful not to overdo it right now – injury prevention is still your goal.
Maintain patience for the process, and trust that you don’t need to do anything extra or find extra magic out there. The magic is in the process and the mental preparation for things to go well.
Take the long view and have perspective
As we get caught up in the momentum of our training, planning and preparing for sessions meticulously (or even winging it) we sometimes can’t see that we are giving an energy and passion to something that is unmatched elsewhere in our lives. You have a training plan mapped over several months and every couple of days is a session that brings you closer to your goal. From taking care of your time management to tinkering with your nutrition and gear, you create a forward momentum to your goal race that becomes a constant part of your life. You are committed to eating well, sleeping well, and making positive choices on a daily basis to support your clinic night and goal race. You even have a vision of what that finish is going to look like and how you feel crossing it. This is awesome and a fantastic part of sport, but do you have a sense of calm about the journey, not the destination. The destination has changed, there is uncertainly, but your calm reaction to this is going to be the best practice.
A Zen approach would suggest that all events are neither good nor bad, they just are. While sport is full of highs and lows, weathering everything with a sense of the satisfaction and wonder creates a peaceful relationship with your journey.
Live in the moment AND think ahead. While most people think only of their next race or in one year season cycles, great training encompasses development in 2-4 year spans. When you know that your last training build is only a part of a bigger picture, you get a good sense of perspective that allows you to fully appreciate all the moments that a season offers.
Meanwhile, keep loving your walking and running program and feel proud of where you ARE RIGHT NOW!
Stay healthy, and be safe.
Run For Joy