When changing goals is the right thing to do
Lisa Scott, Editor
I fully intended to run another marathon this year. Over summer, my training has been super-consistent, my mental strength was great, and I’ve been thrilled with my performance during speedwork.
To say that I was starting a 16-week marathon training program fully prepared, as well as stronger and faster than last year is an understatement. My long runs have been solid, and have left me feeling energised (not exhausted) … and yet … something wasn’t quite right.
I just don’t want a second marathon medal badly enough.
I like the ‘idea’ of it. I like the ‘idea’ of training with an awesome bunch of strong women. I like the ‘idea’ of ridiculously long runs. And I like the ‘idea’ of knocking a fair chunk off my marathon time.
I also don’t like the idea of missing out.
But I can’t shake the feeling of … boredom.
Of a ‘been there, done that,’ feeling. And a deep-seated (yet unacknowledged) feeling of dread towards the 16 weeks ahead of me.
There’s a lot going on in our family life that needs my attention this year, and training for a marathon feels very selfish indeed. I had my opportunity to tick off my major marathon goal last year, and this year it feels…
It feels like it’s someone else’s turn to shine.
It feels like my path is leading me somewhere different.
It feels like a burden, not a challenge.
It feels like I may never run a marathon again.
If there’s anything I learnt about competing in last year’s Gold Coast Marathon, it’s that a marathon demands everything you’ve got. You cannot be ambivalent about it. You cannot be half-arsed. It’s an all-in-or-nothing event.
And I’m not ‘all-in’ this year.
Realising that, makes me feel … relieved.
I need a new goal.
A goal that makes my heart pound a little, just thinking about it. A goal that scares me.
I believe that when setting our goals, whether they be for life, exercise, events, racing or work — they must scare us a little. They must be just a fraction out of our reach. There must be a question mark over whether our goal is achievable.
Because working towards a goal just beyond our reach inspires us to work harder, and to stay motivated and engaged with our sport.
Ultimately, it spurs us to be stronger, fitter, faster or run further than we could yesterday.
So, to remain a happy and motivated runner, my goal has shifted from completing a long, slow 42.2km event to a short, fast 10km race.
This new goal requires far more of me than a marathon.
It requires me to go ‘all-in’. To run harder than I’m comfortable with. To step it up and to make changes I’ve been unwilling to make for years (yes, nutritional performance diet, I’m looking squarely at you!).
I’m 42 years old this week. And for the first time since I was teenager, I’m not participating in an event. I’m racing in it.
And it scares me.
And it fills me with joy.
Which is how I know it’s the perfect goal for me.
Lisa is a mad-keen runner, mad-cap mum, and still can't quite grasp that she runs marathons 'for fun'. She also believes there's no coincidence about the number 42. After all, 42 is the distance of a marathon, her current age and according to the Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy, the meaning of life!