Changing Mindset

Due to Covid, the timing of the World Marathon Challenge has changed. Instead of February, it’s going
to be either June or even October. It might not seem like a big deal, but it’s actually a pretty big change,
and I’ve had to fight with my mindset to finally be OK with it.

I found out the day before the Boston Marathon. And that news screwed with my head pretty badly. At
that point, because I’d been training so hard, I felt like I was the fittest I’d ever been—I was doing 60
milers and back-to-back marathons and training twice a day. And finding out that there was a change to
the date I had been so focused on felt defeating. It wasn’t just around the corner anymore. It was 9
months or even a year away.

If you know me, you know I’m a pretty driven and focused person—and maybe even a little bit of a
control freak. I set up my schedule, I plan for what’s coming up, and I follow through. This change just
shook everything up. It sent me into a pretty bad headspace, and I kind of spun out. I felt so tired, I
didn’t want to train, I couldn’t make myself get to the gym more than twice a week, and I wasn’t running
well or fast. I was so unmotivated, and I started making up reasons why I couldn’t work out, blaming it
on a busy work schedule or not feeling great. I didn’t want to admit to myself that I just didn’t want to
go. There was such an identity piece wrapped up in it, being super athletic and competitive and then to
go to nothing.

With Running With Muscle, I’ve worked with clients who struggle with being overwhelmed by how to
achieve a 5K, 10K, or more. I’ve given them tools and tricks to work on their mindset: say something
you’re grateful for each mile, take it one at a time, don’t think about how much you have left. When I hit
this mental block about the World Marathon, I couldn’t understand why I couldn’t just follow my own
advice. But it finally came down to that I didn’t want to own what I was seeing as my failure: after all,
I’m known for getting through things; I didn’t want people to see my weakness.

I finally had a conversation with my husband, Zach, about it and told him that I was struggling with
motivation. Before, I’d had the World Marathon to hold myself accountable to training and then
suddenly, even though it wasn’t entirely gone, it wasn’t so pressing. I didn’t know how to go from
extreme training to just training to be healthy.

Talking with Zach became my first step to accountability and to truly setting up a support system I can
rely on. He told me to take everything out of the workout but showing up—to not think about nutrition
or goals or “grinding it out” but to just show up to work out at the same time every day. So I did that the
next day, and that night, I was able to say, “I showed up and got this done.” Then every day at the same
time, I held myself accountable to that one workout, and suddenly, two weeks later, I realized it had
worked. A few days after that, I ran my first good half marathon in weeks. By taking small goals and
letting them add together, by going back to the basics, I rediscovered my routine and joy in the work.

And that in turn has let me shift my perspective about the date change for the World Marathon. To
start, I can see the beauty in the new timing. Now I can implement more rhythms, like stretching,
nutrition, and recovery—things I didn’t fully implement before because I was going a million miles an
hour. Now I have the gift of being able to really enjoy the holidays with my family. And now I can use the
seasons on this continent before experiencing the extremes of them on other continents: This winter, I
can really train to understand the cold for Antarctica, and in the spring and summer, I can get ready for
the heat of Dubai.

And perhaps the best gift is that I enjoy training again. Instead of being in extreme training mode all the
time, I can enjoy those days when I just hang out and be part of my training community and can also
experience solid rest days as well. It all comes down to mindset. As someone who likes control, as soon
as I was handed something out of my control, there was nothing I could do but shift my perspective on
it, with the help of my support system, and with some work on my mindset. All of which has definitely
made me a better athlete and hopefully even better prepared for the challenge overall.

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