Over the years I have seen that most endurance athletes who race have higher expectations of themselves than most people who do not partake in competitive pastimes or sports. This of course is quite normal. However we tend to become attached to outcomes. In other words we measure success or failure based solely upon the outcome of an event. Should this outcome not fulfill whatever arbitrary measure we have set, no matter how subjective or ill-conceived, we end up feeling miserable. In other words on many occasions these outcomes are not based in reality, but on our rather unscientific & impractical (read unrealistic) determination of what will satisfy us. The ego is a loud-mouthed lout that sits in the peanut gallery & offers uncalled for comments & criticism of the Self, but does not lift a finger of support, while the Self gets out there & does the job!
The secrets to master are:
-Staying committed & responsible for achieving the targets you set yourself
-Being clear, through consultation with those that are both knowledgeable & objective, on what your targets are or ought to be
-Aim high, but be realistic
-Set goals on what attitudes will best serve you in the process
-Become attached only to the process, i.e. work on who you need to be in order to achieve a specific result & not so much on what you have to do in order to be satisfied
-Judge yourself less on outcome & more on how you executed the process
-Set numerous sub targets; like showing up, warming up well, having the most effective attitude, being attuned to your long term targets & goals & not just the short term that's right in front of you.
-Add to this the enjoyment of every minute of the process, being proud of yourself, being patient, being accepting & feeling the correct pace. Work on the reality of each step passing & not the perceived effort. So often perception will indicate the 1st mile as being easy & then 75-90% into the event participation becomes much less easy, & we consequently slow down. Being in the moment stops us from thinking of what's passed & what is still to come & empowers us to deal with the here & now
-Sense pace; do not go on perceived effort, but on actual effort by using velocity over terrain (include environmental circumstances & internal physiology as guides to how you are faring)
If you want to measure yourself, take all this into account. Instead of leaving only 2 possible outcomes as an option; success & failure or zero & 100%. Rather give yourself the option of getting 75%, or a C, rather than only an F (0%) or an A (100%).
See the big picture of your commitment & participation & positive life style. Recognize the often unconsidered values, like association with fun healthy people, being part of a special community. You have had the courage to show up & be measured-a rare & rewarding vulnerability few people have the courage to display! Allow the praise & support of those around you
Wholesome, real & lasting results will flow from this process. This approach provides the greatest value in any participation. Racing or pushing yourself to your limits in training is not a process of gaining something you do not have, but rather a process of allowing that which you do have, to come to the fore. Consider training & racing as an uncovering of your innate abilities & talents – the fittest most successful athlete you can be. Put down expectation & run free & light, why buy the lightest shoes that money can buy & then put two 5 pound bricks of expectation in your pockets!
Use this as a reminder of why & how we can gain more fulfillment from what we so passionately pursue.
Supplant effort with joy