A series of small steps: lessons on the road

Posted: January 8, 2015 by don
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Those who know me, know I try to get a good run in before the hustle and bustle of the day kicks in. Typically I do about 5 miles or so. Since these runs are not training for any particular race, I take it easy but generally try to improve on my time from the previous day. To say I am not as young as I used to feel… will be an understatement however, I genuinely enjoy the open road and time to think. So lately my times have been all over the map. These are my times for this month:

Date Type Distance Duration Pace Cal HR Avg. Elev. gain Notes
09/18/13 Running 5.30 mi 46:04 8:41 737 0 88 ft
09/16/13 Running 5.33 mi 47:08 8:50 743 0 121 ft
09/11/13 Running 5.19 mi 49:42 9:34 736 0 36 ft
09/10/13 Running 5.28 mi 49:22 9:20 745 0 121 ft
09/06/13 Running 5.29 mi 46:58 8:52 738 0 91 ft
08/28/13 Running 5.26 mi 50:04 9:31 745 0 104 ft
08/22/13 Running 5.28 mi 50:09 9:29 748 0 88 ft
08/13/13 Running 5.34 mi 47:57 8:58 747 0 88 ft
08/09/13 Running 5.33 mi 49:37 9:18 751 0 108 ft
08/07/13 Running 5.35 mi 51:15 9:34 759 0 108 ft
08/02/13 Running 5.21 mi 48:27 9:18 734 0 108 ft

What you will notice is that today 9-18-2013, I got my best time ever. I mean ever — even when I run the 13.1 miles, I got a pace of 8:50 per mile. So what, you say? “Good job on getting a best time Don.” “Is there more to this story?” Yes. See the thing is, I made a pace of 8 minutes 41 seconds per mile, and it was so much fun and easy. So how did this happen? I played a game, a game with myself. Running is 90% mind games, 10% physical output. Here’s the game: I pick an object in front of me, perhaps the next electrical pole, perhaps a piece of grass sticking out on the asphalt. I then run as fast as I can to that marker before the next car or truck passes me by. If I make it to the oject, I earn a live, if I don’t well I loose a live. Guess what? It works. It is so  much fun earning lives and not even knowing that in the process, I am pushing myself and increasing my speed. At the end of the run, I check my time and would you believe my pace. I started this little game on 9-16-2013 and while its yet too early, I can tell you I like the direction. Can you think of something you can apply the same logic to? Perhaps a big project? Perhaps a personal goal? Take that scary project and set micro goals. As you meet your micro goals, take time to celebrate. If you don’t meet the goals, adjust and continue to inch forward. At the end of the day, it’s how many steps you have taken forward: how many lives you have earned. That is what moves you closer to achieving your objectives and goals. Keep things in perspective and try not to freak out about micro steps. Here’s what I have learned from 3 years ago when I started running (seriously).

  1. It gets better the more you do it.
  2. Long and seamingly insurmountable goals can always be broken up into smaller chunks.
  3. If you are not having fun, it won’t last.

Good luck today: Remember it’s mostly mindgames!