I ran a new personal best today, but that’s not what’s important. It doesn’t matter how fast or far I ran yesterday. It doesn’t matter how that compares with today. It’s cool that I ran my new personal best, but that’s not what really matters. It matters that I got my shoes on, laced up and got out there. And tomorrow it’s not going to matter what I did today or how it compares….it will matter if I choose to do it again.
Every day is made up of a thousand choices – what to have for breakfast, whether I hit the snooze button or not, how to respond to someone at work, how to word that email, when to let something go…. Those are all choices. And every afternoon, when I get home, I have the choice to go put on my shoes, or to “take the day off”.
Taking the day off is not necessarily a bad thing – our bodies need time to recover before we push ourselves further or faster or longer than we have done before. Training is a journey, and rest is just as important as pushing. The trick is knowing when.
But taking the day off because you can tell your body needs a recovery day is different than taking the day off because you just don’t feel like lacing up. That is the choice that has to do with attitude, and that choice is one that I have every single day.
It’s great to have a goal and it’s wonderful to be able to compare my times, distances and splits to see how much I’ve improved. It gives me confidence to see where I’ve come from, and it gives me motivation to keep going. However, it’s even more important to me that I take that first step, every single time. I had some friends who were debating about what the hardest part of a run was… “it’s the first half mile.” “No, it’s definitely the last half mile.” “No way, it’s the back half of the middle when you are already tired, but you can’t see the end yet.”
I think the hardest part of the run is usually the attitude that comes before you ever set foot outside. It is making the decision in your head to get after it one more day, to set your mind to today’s goal, whether that is just getting the mileage done, or pushing yourself to go faster than you’ve done in the past, or going further, or facing rainy or cold conditions…. The hardest part is making the choice to begin with. The part that matters is considering all of that and still choosing to put on the shoes, set your mind, and go. First step. Second step. Find a rhythm. Making the choice to run is what matters…today and every day.