Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Double Mindedness, Secondary Gain Limitations of Training

When I began training for my first marathon in 2005 I had never run more then a mile and never under 10 min. I began running in January a year earlier and 9 months before the 'official' training. I was not athletic and although I was ambitious the only imperative was to keep moving forward and not to embarrass myself or latch on and drag down my training team that coming Sept. I did accomplish my task through thick and thin and having nerves of steel or sheer stupidity against all odds, in the first six months I compensated for my poor conditioning and inexperience. Later I grew in confidence and just moved ahead. I finished my first marathon between 45 min and over an hour ahead of my tutors. I never hit the wall and felt that a time of 4.32 was respectable (for a first marathon). I had accomplished more, proven more to myself in that life changing event then I ever had before. I left those who had known me either speechless or touting my praises. In one day I raised the bar of what is possible in actuality for my children.

Now while all this is well enough it is not what I set out to tell you. I wanted to follow-up on yesterdays blog entry. While I was training for my first marathon I was cautioned and as the years past and I helped others train I likewise cautioned them not to piggy-back secondary goals onto running a marathon or running. For example weight loss is most definitely inevitable at some point for those just starting training. Even seasoned runners tend to slim down as the mileage increases. But if weight loss is the goal then more pressure is put on the run more self doubt and artificial lows and peaks are inserted into the process. While weight loss and improved fitness and self confidence are almost assured be single minded not to burn yourself at both ends; keep the goal single and simple. To run to complete the task.

Lately my runs have been sour and taxing beyond their due. Well after my labyrinth/maze analogy I realized that my runs were expected to correct the wrongs in my day, my outlook, my relationships. I put undo stress on these runs expecting to work out the difficulties and relish the rewards all during the run or resulting from the run. This is 'the way wrong direction'. Of course the character benefits gained from the challenges of a particular run or the commitment to running long term are part and parcel of the activity; as are the physical changes. Essentially when you stress a system and then offer it time to recover your body, mind and soul adapts with each challenge becoming stronger and increasing the threshold you can bear.

All this of course comes with that cautionary note: running doesn't fix everything it simply give the tools and builds one's tolerance for labor and living goal orientated. It doesn't magically fix everything in your life. If you keep running the process will change you, make you stronger. In some ways you will become harder and more in control what therapists refer to as an internal locus of control but it even this doesn't mysteriously change circumstance and outcomes. Running and all it requires can add to your arsenal of problem solving which extends to the rest of your life; the rest of your 23 hours a day; but it doesn't simply undo obstacles or do necessary tasks.

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