Waiting for Things to be Perfect?
Do you ever wake up and see that it's raining or snowing or cold or humid or you feel "tired" or you feel "sluggish" or you feel "input word here" that makes you believe that you should push your workout to later or another day?
Have you every thought that by moving your run, you might be cheating yourself of valuable growth?
What is preventing you from going ahead with what you planned despite un-perfect circumstances?
Do you think you won't do as well as you might if conditions were better? If you answer yes to this....what does how well you do in a workout really matter? Are you putting more emphasis on numbers than effort? Are you putting weight in what the workout looks like on Strava? Are you worried about what others might think, about what your coach might think, and about what you interpret the numbers in the workout to mean about your abilities?
What does this all boil down to?
Trust in yourself. Security in your process. When these things are lacking, we often attempt to control the things that are outside our management rather than forging ahead with the belief that we will do the best we can, and that is good enough.
Doing the workout in the rain, in the humidity, in the snow, when you're not feeling your best, when you're tired: doing this give you the opportunity to work through a challenge. That is what matters, the paces don't matter. When we rearrange things to be more perfect and try to control everything, we limit our ability to grow in uncertainty, we limit our ability to rise to the occasion when things are unknown, we impair our ability to adapt, improvise, and overcome.
Doing this, deciding to do the hard thing, goes against our natural protective instincts as human beings. Our brains always want to keep us the most safe, the most comfortable. Running and endurance training in general, goes against our inherent evolutionary protective nature and yet, it is so incredibly human to push ourselves and try to find out where the limit lies. There is this constant tug of war within us as human beings: to be safe yet find the edge. Maybe human beings are drawn to pushing themselves to the edge because we have this safety mechanism built in and it is within us to innovate and explore, not only the world around us but the depths of ourselves. I digress.
Your brain will always encourage the thing that feels most comfortable unless you decide to overcome that. It is so much more comfortable to feel warm, dry, cozy, and be at rest. But perhaps the desire to see where the limit lies is still there. Sitting dormant inside the recesses of your mind. Like an itch, waiting to be scratched.
But when you choose to delay, to wait for a more perfect moment, this is a false positive and it tarnishes your goal in exchange for temporary comfort.
What else could it be? Maybe you feel demotivated. And I'm here to tell you that this is normal and not a problem. This is not an indicator that you are doing anything wrong. Most people feel demotivated most of the time. It is impossible to feel motivated all of the time. Motivation is unreliable. Feeling demotivated isn't something that should prevent you from running. When you make the negative emotion, or lack of motivation a problem, that's when we seek comfort to feel better. We convince ourselves that it's too hot, or too cold, or we're too tired, or we need more rest. But most of the time after the run you feel good. Most of the time, none of that is true and we cave to our brains manipulation undermining our drive and directing us towards comfort.
The reality is that we cannot expect to feel positive all the time. This is a highly unrealistic expectation. If our expectation is to always feel good, always feel positive, we are setting ourselves up for consistent failure in exchange for random and sporadic success on those lucky days when everything comes together ideally. Those days are few and far between and should be met with gratitude but not sought after.
Meet yourself where you're at. Accept that you feel negative, unmotivated, overwhelmed. Say it out loud that you don't want to run because it is too ____, whatever; say it out loud if you are doubting your abilities to overcome the circumstances.
Be compassionate with yourself. You don't have to be perfect. That doesn't exist, it is an impossible expectation and a way your brain tricks you to self-sabotage.
It doesn't mean skipping your run. It means running while feeling overwhelmed or unmotivated or mad or scared of the rain. You can feel tired and still get your run done. First accept what it is, what you're feeling, and make the decision to try anyway and accept whatever comes. You are responsible for your feelings. You will ultimately learn how to decide when you are skipping a session in support of yourself or against yourself. Sometimes the day does call for redirection, like let's say if you're vomiting or something. But most of the time you can move through whatever your brain is throwing at your to keep you in the comfort zone.
Remember, if you wait for things to be perfect, you'll always be waiting. You have the power to choose to accept yourself no matter how the session goes and decide it was good enough. You have the power to choose growth over stagnation.