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  • Writer's picturecoachmk

The Most Dangerous Lies

Child climbing wall with ease


I get some form of this every single day.  It is maddening.   

When someone decides to train for an endurance event, they rarely understand how many learning curves they will be encountering simultaneously.  As a coach I am painfully aware of this and the million other things the clients is not yet aware of.  Like math.  20 weeks in a training cycle is 140 days.  If we run 5 days per week that is 100 runs.  Some days, it will be as easy as lacing up and taking off.  The statistical probability that all 100 days and 100 runs will be that easy is laughably small.  It's how you handle the less-than-ideal days that will define you in the end. This is a function of discipline and ambition that is difficult to pinpoint much less quantify.  

But you're the coach, you've been doing this for twenty years!  It has to be easier for you!

Define 'it', please.  Running is something I have been doing for years.  It is something I love.  I have goals and realize I cannot have goals without training specifically towards them.  I also realize I cannot work towards two ambitious goals at once unless I am willing to take more time to get to each or sacrifice quality along the way.  

So sure, I have a running habit and goals I care about. This means I've made room for running in my life and this isn't news to my family.  My 6-year wedding anniversary is today, my husband knew what he was getting when he proposed, bless his heart.  In that regard, I totally have advantages over new runners who don't yet understand the difference between 'regular exercise' and 'training' much less that one isn't necessarily better than the other, that the only difference is specificity.  I have a leg up, the privilege of experience. 

(This, by the way, is why I am SO IMPRESSED with new runners over the age of 35.  The older you are, the busier you are, the less time you have for things you love much less new tricks. I openly acknowledge how hard this is.) 

Yet today I cautiously stand on the leg that three weeks ago could no longer support my body's weight due to tension in my lower back and look outside at 40 degrees and light rain and want to point out the obvious fact that 13 miles for me today is still 2 hours of work in cold and rain with a minor injury. That's no easier for me than for anyone else.  

I just withdrew from a marathon I've been training for since December.  I know it's the right decision and I'm good with it, but coming to terms with it was no easier for me than for anyone else...especially since some could hold it against me professionally (even though that would be stupid).

We are all the stars of a narrative that is playing out in our heads.  It never hurts to stop and check that narrative for accuracy.  If you've been telling yourself that I/everyone have/has it easier than you do, you might want to stop and define 'it' then ask yourself if rain really feels differently on your skin than on mine. Work is work is work no matter who you are, and it's worth asking yourself if this work could become easier for you if you approached it the same way I do, with the same narrative playing in my head.  You know, the one where Morgan Freeman is narrating my badassery in attempting the best run ever in the rain on a leg that may not feel like running 13 miles today.  That narrative is pretty epic.

The most dangerous lies of all are the ones we tell ourselves. You can do just about anything you want to do, achieve anything you want to achieve, if you are willing to put in the time and do the work, especially on less-than-ideal days and make good decisions, even when its hard. And in the beginning, it WILL be hard- everything is easier when you are fit, but work will always feel like work.

Morgan is calling, I gotta run.  

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