In August 2021, after long reflection, I decided to get back into running.
It wasn’t a huge leap as I was already physically active, engaged in a sport or two of some kind. On the other hand, I’d never enjoyed running.
In the past, I’d run for several months, and even completed a few 10K races. But from the moment my runs began, all I could think about was when it would be over. I looked for every excuse to stop, and focused on my suffering.
This was why I decided to recommit. I hired a running coach, and asked my coach to help me fall in love with running.
Armed with a coach and determination, I embarked on a new adventure just before my 50th birthday.
Although I am attracted to the “all or nothing” approach and instant gratification, this time, I wanted to focus on the process. I asked my coach to treat me as a total beginner and to allow my progress to be slow but steady.
In the beginning, I felt growing frustration as I wasn’t progressing quickly enough – by my standards. I wanted to see a swift and dramatic transformation. I had to regularly remind myself that I’d asked my coach to take it slowly.
At the beginning of every week, my coach would say, “We are adding just a little bit to the load.”
On the one hand, I was relieved. On the other, I wanted the load to grow more noticeably so I could achieve faster.
I went on runs where I didn’t shed a drop of sweat. This made me ask myself, “What’s the point?”
My coach said we were working according to the plan, and everything was OK. My progress was slow. I wasn’t getting instant gratification and was constantly frustrated. I followed the schedule, running 3 times a week, and my impatience grew.
The Turning Point
Four months into my running regimen of 3 runs a week, I noticed a few wins:
- I was not injured.
- I’d started by running 1 minute then walking 2. Suddenly, I could run more than 30 minutes straight.
- While I hadn’t fallen in love with running yet, I didn’t see it as torture anymore.
As Steve Jobs said, “You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking back. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future.”
Here’s another win: I trusted my coach, and the dots were starting to align.
Falling Off The Wagon
Then winter arrived. It was freezing cold. It snowed. The gym was closed due to Covid restrictions.
I didn’t run for a week. At first, this made me feel a bit panicky. I thought that all the hard work I’d done over the past months was going down the drain. Then my laziness and old habits took over, and I looked for excuses for why I shouldn’t run.
Motivation is a great asset to have when you start a process, but it often fades away. We need a bigger purpose to keep moving forward towards our goals.
To show up for every run, I needed to prioritize, sleep better, eat better, and have the right mindset. I needed the discipline to build habits, which would eventually kick in automatically.
Currently, I use discipline. I am not always happy to go out for a run. But I have the right mindset, and I am fully committed.
Don’t worry about falling off the wagon. People do. Best learnings are from failures.
What matters is how you get back on the wagon and keep going.
Reflection is required to evaluate our progress. Often we find that we gain much more than a shift from point A to point X. Here is what I learned:
#1 Everything is a Process
Instant gratification and the all-or-nothing approach won’t serve us and simply feeds frustration.
Having a plan puts things in the right order. Our actions are built progressively, and sticking to a process will support us, even if sometimes the results don’t feel like they’re coming fast enough.
A process includes success and lessons. Lessons (or “failures”) are important for our progress as long as we learn and improve because of them.
Being persistent in what I do is key to moving forward. I had to stick with the plan my coach crafted for me. I overcame challenges like rainy days, lack of motivation, schedule conflicts, and poor prioritization, along with many other excuses.
Yes, it is hard. I didn’t always see the reward when I traded the cozy couch for a run in the rain.
But, in retrospect, it was worth it. At the end of every hard run, I felt great. I achieved something with that run.
I dedicated my runs to self-exploration. I developed curiosity about how I ran, about the mechanics of running, what I saw and heard on the road, how my body felt, and how I could hone my running skills.
Self-exploration and curiosity help me understand myself better. They help me identify the areas I want to improve and learn from the areas I am already happy with.
#4 Looking for Trends
Running helps me see the bigger picture and look for trends.
Understanding that everything is a process, I want to see where the process has led. Have I progressed in the direction I’d intended, or am I stuck?
In terms of running, if I can complete most of my runs and I run longer than I did when I started (or a month ago), then that’s good enough.
However, if I miss most of my scheduled runs, can’t complete them, or am injured or out of breath, I am not moving in the right direction.
#5 Develop Confidence in Your Abilities
Running showed me that I’d lowered the bar for myself in some areas. I’d set low expectations out of confidence, laziness, fear of failure, or limited thinking.
Running raised my bar. I remembered I could do much more than I believed I could. I could replace my limiting beliefs with curiosity and be playful about the outcome.
My confidence grew stronger in every area of my life as I learned that I was capable of much more.
#6 Working With A Professional Is Always Better
Working with a coach added a ton of value.
I was more committed to my choices.
I had a professional coach to talk to and consult during the process. My coach was experienced and seasoned, and I could draw from his knowledge and skills. I understood what I should expect and what were common pitfalls of the process.
I also had a professional coach who was rooting for my success, a professional who followed up on my progress, created a tailored plan, and who tweaked the plan if needed. My coach made sure the wheels kept turning in the right direction.
A professional coach saved me time and suffering.
How My Journey Helps Me Help You
Everyone goes through difficulties – sleep issues, infertility, emotional or physical pain, anxiety, and so on.
Going from where you are to where you want to be is a process, even if you’d like to get to your goal instantly.
I can attest to the fact that within every process we sometimes fall. The important part is what we learn from falling, how we get up and keep moving.
Winston Churchill said, “Man will occasionally stumble over the truth, but most of the time he just picks himself up and stumbles on.”
I am here to look at your truth, challenge it, and help you learn from it so you can make smart choices.
I am here to walk you through the process, empower you and your decision-making, give you the necessary tools for change, share my knowledge and skills, help you get up and move on when you fall, help you see the bigger picture, and reflect your progress back to you.
Miri is a hypnotherapist and integrative coach who focuses on sleep, fertility and pain among other physical and mental health issues.
Miri works online with clients worldwide and in-person from her office in Vancouver, BC.
For more information and to learn how Miri can help you improve your life, contact Miri Malkin, click below: