Some people love a goal.
For some, it’s the only reason that coerces them to pull on their trainers first thing in the morning…the pursuit of the goal.
That goal may be getting round Parkrun without stopping. Or ‘London’, or some other marathon. And then there’s the entire world of triathlon and the ultras, fell races, point to points, multi-stagers…
For others, they don’t require an additional motivating reason to get up and go out. Getting outside in the fresh air is motivation enough…the rambling runs though the countryside and the social side of going out running with a chum or club mates, ticks enough boxes; no need to flog themselves around the next race route!
Sometimes the goal is a big achievement to work towards; one that has a deadline. An announcement – a proclamation! – ‘I am going to sign up for this, and I’m jolly well going to see it through!’
Endless admiration and a confession
I have huge admiration for this; I admire the commitment to setting a thing in stone and getting to the finishing line come what may.
But it doesn’t really work for me, personally, this way. I have done this before, and to be honest, not really enjoyed it.
I’ve not really enjoyed it because it’s been way too much pressure…saying to myself, ‘I must train this many times, and so often a week, and be perfectly honed and in peak condition for The Big Day’.
It works for some people, but not for me. And I’m ok with that.
Looming exams and rolling in different ways
I live the rest of my life putting too much pressure on myself, and frankly, I have discovered (through much trial and error!) that I don’t need any more pressure from my running life, thank you very much!
I need to make sure it stays fun. Purposeful, but still fun.
Because, you see, I still lurve to race.
Really race…work really really hard in a race and work my little socks off! That’s what I really love…
But I love the idea of being able to enter ‘on the day’. The days of being able to do these are getting fewer and far between nowadays, as the popular races get booked out within milliseconds… The concept that you can decide a few days beforehand – am I ready to race this weekend? Can I give it my best shot if I rock up and run it?
This offers the lightness of training for training’s sake (because running and working hard at it feels good : ) yet none of the pressure of thinking that everything has to come together on one set day, in one set way…
Like a looming exam.
WAY too much like a looming exam.
And I’m way over exams now!
But some people really thrive off these goals; some don’t see the next challenge as an approaching deadline! And once one is completed, in the void that follows, they set another…another goal to work towards. Sometimes bigger, sometimes better.
And that’s ok too. Of course it is; we all roll in different ways…
Getting as good as you can get
Rather than setting goals, I use the idea of getting as good as I possibly can do at one particular thing – one set distance. Asking myself, how well can I do this one thing? And doing it over and again…maybe slightly different variations, you know, to mix it up a little bit! And then only moving on when I feel as accomplished as possible.
It’s about working with piecemeal goals…(rather than one enormous, all consuming, do-or-die goal!). Lots of little increments allow you to watch the progress, over and over…and to see the development little by little by little. To see how you’re getting better and better and better, but just at the one key thing.
And, of course, acknowledging the achievements along the way; congratulating and celebrating along the way…
(Essential. It’s truly essential – the acknowledgement and the self-congratulating!)
Personally, this way allows me to enjoy the journey much more rather than focus on the end goal…And I’ve certainly played with the latter!
And I think it’s ok.
Of course, I think that both are ok. Of course they are – whether you’re big goal, or little goal-oriented!
In any case, isn’t there always a really big come-down – the ‘anti-climax’!? Oh, and it’s all way too much of a rollercoaster, for a sensitive soul… ; )
You may think that it’s a character flaw, not wanting to commit to something large and important! And believe me, I’ve wondered that myself along the way! ; ) But it’s only from experience that you start to ascertain what works for you and what doesn’t…
Any which way is fine, but the most essential part is being comfortable with your way of working… As long as you know your why, and what’s driving you, and as long as you’re not being jollied along with someone else’s interpretation of ‘what works’…it’s all fine.
Knowing what works for you is the biggest learning; really knowing yourself. And adapting everything else around that…