Achieving Difficult Running Goals

Have you ever made a goal for yourself that just seemed crazy to achieve? I have done this many times. Sometimes I have been successful, other times not. Sometimes I could have been successful, but I lacked the confidence, or the mental stamina to achieve my goal.

Practicing at something helps build confidence. But, bottom line, competitions or the true test of your chosen goal is intimidating. I have learned so many life lessons from running, but continually have more lessons to learn. I learn something new each time I lace up my shoes. This past weekend I did another one of my long runs. But, this time, I achieved a distance I hadn’t achieved in over 2 years. Intimidating? Yes! Achieved it? Yes! Fatigued? Yes, yes, yes!

I planned to do this run on the nicer day of the weekend, but my body told me otherwise. I pushed my run off to the next day, and nonetheless, it was WINDY. Like, 18 mph winds. And 16 miles traversing through the wind. Not giving much thought into which direction the wind was blowing, I just chose a route and ran. Fortunately for me, the  brunt of my run was not directly into the wind. I was doing great until I got to around 9 miles. After 9 miles, I began to get tired. Then I got to 10 miles. Then I slowly began wishing to get to red lights that were green in the direction I wanted to cross, that way I could stop. I convinced myself to keep going until I got to around 13 miles. Then I began just stopping at the red lights even if I could have went. But, those stops only lasted a few seconds before I decided I should just continue on. Eventually my watch beeped at the final mile: 16. And, surprisingly I was not that tired.  The next day I didn’t feel bad, and my body had seemed to recover well.

And so with this run, I realized just how hard it is to mentally drive yourself to achieve something you know is intimidating. I knew this run would take me a couple of hours. Thinking about the time factor and the distance was scary. I ran the run by myself, and had no one to answer to but me. That makes things even harder. Having a peer for support, or knowing someone else is suffering with you makes things feel a little bit better. THE WIND. This affected me big time. The stretches that I ran directly into the wind were very tough. I felt as if I was hardly moving, but putting in 110% effort. The wind was present mainly in the first half of my run, explaining my sense of fatigue by mile 9. Mentally running is tough, but it is important to have goals, and remind yourself of those when conditions are adverse, your tired, unmotivated, etc. I made two goals before my long run. First and foremost, I wanted to complete the run. Secondly, I had a goal pace I hoped to achieve, but wouldn’t be terribly disappointed if I did not get that pace. I was able to achieve both goals. This coming weekend, as I set out to do another long run, I have a great boost in confidence from successfully completing the tough run from last weekend. And hopefully, it will not be as windy!!

What intimidates you? How do you overcome that?


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