There was a moment early in a recent run when I thought to myself, “I just don’t have it today.”
So I cut the planned 6-mile run short after getting about halfway done.
The question to ponder is what is “it” and why was it missing? That “it” could be many things, both physical and mental.
When it comes to exercise and fitness, sometimes you just don’t feel right, and it’s difficult to understand why.
Here are some reasons why I struggled so much during that recent run.
• Low energy level. There are many reasons why I might not have a good energy level: poor nutrition, lack of sleep, stress overload. They all take a toll on your physical energy. I believe that stress is one of the most underrated factors on our physical health. I try hard to keep my stress levels under control, but it can be difficult in our very busy, hectic lives.
• Commitment: If you’re not committed to a workout, you’re not going to do well. Sometimes your mind is somewhere else – school, work, home, etc. — and you’re simply going through the motions. To get the most out of a workout, you have to be committed to doing your best. If the commitment is not there, you’re going to struggle. I was not “psyched up” for my run and it showed.
• Attitude: There are many factors that affect our attitudes toward fitness and health. If you go into a workout thinking “I’m too tired” or “I don’t want to do this” you likely will struggle. Positive thinking is a powerful force that we can use to help drive our fitness success. Recently I’ve been lifting weights with a good friend. His support has helped push me further than I’ve ever thought possible. Having a workout partner can help improve your attitude and increase your success.
• Strength: Physically, I am not always strong. With my recent work in the weight room, I find my muscles are more tired than usual. The weight lifting can do a number on my legs. But it doesn’t just take physical strength to complete a tough workout. It takes mental strength, too. One of the abilities that I am still working on is the ability to fight through the discomfort of a rigorous workout. There are days when I can fight through it and others that I can’t. When I got a few miles into my lackluster run, I realized that I was not going to be able to push past the discomfort level.
One thing I’ve learned in the past five years that I’ve been running and training is that I cannot be great every day. There are good days and bad days, and it’s something I just have to accept. The harder and smarter I work, the more good days I have. But even the best athletes have their bad days.
Sometimes you just have to accept that you don’t have “it” and move on.
I’ve been thinking a lot lately about what my next big event will be. I’m skipping the San Jose Rock and Roll half-marathon for the first time in many years because I can’t fit it into my schedule. I’m currently looking for another race.
The Modesto Marathon will be here before you know it – it’s scheduled for March 29 in 2015.
There are many factors to consider beyond the race itself. One thing that many people often overlook is when you’ll be doing your long training runs. Most of the training for a spring event is done in the winter.
I don’t always enjoy running in the cold, but I guess there’s always the treadmill.