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As I trained for my recent half marathon I learned a lot about myself. Something that I always knew was in me came out in full force towards the end of my training. And that is my competitive nature. I had become so focused on my time and distance goals that my training had become burdensome. I was plagued with constant leg pain from running new distances and was determined to run them all. The more I ran, the more I began to hate running.
At one of the frequent visits to my chiropractor’s office he reminded me, “You’re not winning any cash prizes here, Amy.” In other words… What’s with all the pressure? Isn’t this supposed to be fun?
So, don’t be surprised that I feel like today’s guest blogger speaks to me personally when he asks, “How do you measure your running success?”
Live for the Journey, Not the Finish Line
In life and in sport the outcome is often the factor that determines success or failure. Did you run a personal best in the race or finish in the top 10 or not? Everyone is looking to the time showing on the clock in the finish line photo to rate their performance. However, it is this attitude, the value placed on the finishing time that ultimately detracts from the much bigger picture; the journey.
Instead of focusing on the finish line, take a moment to reflect on the preparation, the training and the race itself. Consider the words of Arthur Ashe who said,
Success is a journey, not a destination. The doing is often more important than the outcome.
If you allow yourself to use the finish line as the only means of evaluating success, you are diminishing the process. While training for and competing in various endurance sports, the preparation is usually more difficult than the race itself. The race is a onetime event. The path to the starting line is riddled with injury, sacrifices, and times of self-doubt juxtaposed with moments of elation. Just signing up, showing up and competing is insignificant when you evaluate what goes into the preparation.
Do not allow others to be the judge of your accomplishments by attempting to validate your performance based on their notion of success. Do you train for them? Of course not. So why would you allow someone else to minimize your achievements?
Take a moment to think about why you train, compete, and work so hard. What have you learned about yourself and your abilities? How will you use what you have learned on your journey to improve your life and contribute to the life of others? Only then will you reveal the true meaning of your journey.
Tell me… How do you measure your running success?
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