For me, I work best and stay motivated when I set a goal which typically comes in the form of a race. I always try to challenge myself with a distance or course just so I have a reason to push myself beyond my comfort. Otherwise, I get complacent. But, I think as much as I post pictures on social media of amazing views and awesome runs there is another side of it; running is freaking hard. That's the truth.
Deciding on a race is the easy part. Yes, it's scary and takes courage to sign up but that's where the journey begins. The hard part is the months and months before a race. The hard part is researching a plan or creating a plan then sticking with it. A plan takes commitment from yourself to put in the work and commitment from your family and spouses to share their time with the road or trail. It's hard and can be borderline selfish, that's the truth.
Once you put in the miles, check off most of your scheduled runs, it's time to put your training to the test. The second hardest part is making it through the last two weeks before your race. Taper, as it's called in the running world, is the last two to three weeks leading up to the race. Taper is when you slowly decrease miles and rest your body and legs for the big day. Oh my goodness, the mental monsters always take over my brain. My taper is filled with doubt and anxiety, questions of whether I ran far enough or fast enough. The time before a race is when I have a hard time not beating myself down. Not everyone goes through this, but most do. The mental aspect of training is so tough, that's the truth.
|When the whole crew joins..|
The truth isn't pretty but in life, it rarely is. But, I think not knowing and not being prepared often leads to failure when people decide to do a race. I didn't realize until my first race, how hard and how amazing running could be. Yet still, I sign up race after race knowing what lies ahead. For me, there is nothing like setting a goal and working hard to achieve it. There are always going to be the times when you fall short, it happens. But that doesn't take away from the hard work that you put in. That doesn't mean you should give it all up. The truth is, I think without running I wouldn't have grown as much as I have; see the places I have seen, I wouldn't have met the people I have and I wouldn't be as strong as I am. There are ups and downs and tough runs and fantastic runs but like any relationship, getting through the hard parts only make the amazing parts that much more amazing.
So, what are you waiting for? Sign up for a race, it's an amazing and unforgettable experience, and that is the truth.