With 25 days to go until the start of the 2018 Vermont Climate Run, I’ve found myself sidelined a little this week with a stubborn head-cold that’s curtailed what should have been one of my peak training weeks.
I came into the week strong and feeling ready for the challenge ahead, and I’m finishing the week in a stuffy-headed fog, wondering when I’ll feel ready to run more than a few miles without periodic fits of coughing.
It’s been a frustrating test of patience to say the least (an oxymoron if there ever was one).
Yesterday afternoon, I went for just a 5k trail run at the slowest pace I’d run in a while. I’ve learned over the years that my strengths as a runner lie in persistence, perseverance, and, yes, building personal resilience — rather than necessarily in sprint finishes or sub 6-minute miles.
But even so, I always seem to focus on the pace — always doing the math of how long before I have my next energy gel or how many miles until the turn-around or chasing a KOM or PR on a Strava segment. In training, all of that is super important, sure, but sometimes I think it serves me better to focus on rhythm — what my mind and body *want* to do on a given day.
When I coach, teach, and advise students, we work a lot with goal setting: short, medium, and long-term goals that can help personalize and take apart what sometimes seem like insurmountable tasks. I certainly set plenty of goals myself (‘a 10-day run in the Arctic, anyone?’ 🙂 ), and when one day I look up and my long-term goal is sitting right there on the horizon, I need to remind myself to take comfort in all the months of work — the countless hours on the bike, the hundreds of miles of running — that have gotten me this close — that a few days of low energy can just be the rest I need to tackle the last weeks of training before it’s time to go on the morning of June 20th.
Sometimes balancing the body’s rhythms with the mind’s goals can be the hardest thing of all.