Tip 10: Challenge Yourself
This is the most important, and yet illusive, tip of all! Just like this picture, our challenges are hidden; like ghosts; blurry; undefined. That’s because, depending where you are in your training, your recovery, your bad habits, your good habits, each of us face a very different challenge week to week. And yet, that one challenging thing can become the very thing that trips you up! You may have stopped challenging yourself!
Think about it! Consider me: I was training for the Chicago Marathon. I was in terrific shape — planning my runs, making them fun, getting up in the morning — and then BAM! My knee kept swelling and I couldn’t dedicate myself to physical therapy and I had to bail. Is this where I was tripped up? Well, no, not really, because I had to rest and come to terms with my injury.
Here’s the part that tripped me up: so I’m good to go now. Maybe I ought to take it easy for a while before I begin training for a big run again, but I am healthy to start running again. I have been for a while. Why haven’t I been running? Well, let me see, well, I did run one day. So I guess I was kinda running. Kind of. Sorta. You know, a run here and there and then, well, I was tired so I didn’t run one day and then… TRIP! Here’s where I was tripped up! I wasn’t challenging myself.
You may be doing the same thing right now, but it’s because you’ve accomplished a goal and so now you’re thinking, so what now? Right?
Take this last tip to heart. Challenge yourself. How do you do this?
Figure out the one thing that makes you a bit butterfly-in-the-tummy right now about running. Is it a specific run? The post-run ache? The need to cross-train? Are you putting off pilates, which could help you balance your muscle tone, and therefore are about to stop running, too? Are you just out of shape and get nervous about running a mile? 2 miles? Or are you comfortable at 4 miles and are simply bored out of your mind?
What is it for you? Once you figure that out, the answer will be easy. Do that one thing!
Me? It was my fave 5-mile run. Since I had stopped running and stopped my routine, I then got into that funny place where I knew that run would be a challenge for me. That psyched me out, because this is my fave run! My no-brainer run! And I felt a bit nervous about running it. See?
So, this weekend I took it on. I ran it. I enjoyed it. I felt a bit nervous at the beginning, and I had to push myself a bit. But I did it! Boy have I been sore this week! I even added a huge hill at the end to really crank up the soreness I’d feel. Ha-hah!
I feel incredible. I know I won’t be this sore next time I run. I challenged myself and now I’m off to plan a few more challenging runs to get me back into my routine. I’m back!
Won’t you join me?
I hope these tips have been helpful. I wish you fitness, fun and fabulous runs. Get out there and get running! On your terms! On your behalf! And know I’m cheering you on! Will you cheer for me?
May your next run be a great one.