Gratitude and effort

Hi Everyone!


I’m sure you’ve all been appreciating the glorious sunshine and warmer temps. THIS is why we go through winter – to be able to fully and collectively appreciate the emerging sights, smells, sounds and sensations of Spring!


That brings me to what I’ve been thinking about – Gratitude. Sometimes, like when we have a beautifully warm and sunny run with friends after a long, dark, cold winter, this sentiment comes naturally. But other times, we have to work on calling it up, and remembering how much and what we have to be grateful for. It is a mindset which I find helps before and during times of anxiety and effort. Many in our crew are in their last week of resting up before running the Boston Marathon. Taper week. This is one of the most difficult times mentally. You know you have a big effort on the horizon, and that you will be put to the test. But there is absolutely nothing you can do about it now. All you can do is rest up and count the days and then hours as the event approaches. This can (and often does) elicit some form of anxiety in most people. Especially since the way most of us deal with anxiety is through running and exercise, and that is being strictly curbed. Sometimes we look around at friends and family who aren’t about to subject themselves to such a test, blissfully going about their carefree days, and we might think … “WHY exactly am I doing this again?” Or, not uncommonly, we might find ourselves in the middle of it – stretching ourselves to our limits with effort and strain and think … “I’d rather be somewhere else, doing anything else right now”. These are natural thoughts and impulses – our brains looking for the out or the easy way. But we signed up for this. For personal growth, for a reminder that we are alive and engaged and vigorous, to challenge ourselves physically and mentally. We know deep down that we want to do this. So the best counter to these mental moments, is to call on gratitude.


It might sound glib and too simple. But to truly consider and embrace how much we have to be grateful for in these moments can really get us into a positive and productive mindset and to re-engage in the process. Think of any time you’ve been injured and haven’t been able to run (not to mention some of our teammates who are currently sidelined and would trade places with you in a second). Think of people who for many different reasons (financial, geographic, life circumstances) can’t participate in events like this. Consider your health and freedom and all of your friends and support network who are beside you in training, in spirit, and in the race itself. You are supported and surrounded and cheered along. People want this for you. Find gratitude in all of that. You are the lucky ones. Yes, it is uncomfortable. Yes, it is hard. Yes, we can be taken to some dark places. And Yes, we are grateful for all of it.


On to tomorrow’s workout! Lakeshore and Leslie: 6:05 Drills, 6:15 GO. (Unfortunately I won’t be there until later – my daughter needs to be dropped at school at 6:30 am! So get started – I am doing the taper workout and will prob arrive by around 7-ish)


Taper workout (if racing Boston Marathon or Boston 5K):

1 mile tempo (make this a chill tempo). 2 min rest. 4 x 400 cruisey (fast but not straining) – with 1:30 rest.


Ppl not tapering:

1 mile tempo. 2 min rest. 8 x 400 w 1:15 rest (yes, it’s shorter rest than the taper crew). 2-3 min rest. 2 x 400 w 1:30 rest (these should be a couple seconds faster – don’t do these if feeling any glute/hammy/calf/anything strains)


That is all – I’ll see anyone who’s still there at 7 in the am!





The best we can

Hi Everyone!


I don’t think we had anyone from this crew racing the Spring Run Off or Spring Sprint this past weekend. On that note, I really encourage mid-season races as part of your training. There’s fit, and then there’s remembering how to race. It takes a few races sometimes to get that feeling back. They do not have to be your goal distance race – in fact better if they’re not. They’re just good practice and you can build better fitness and learn more from races than from workouts. We’re getting a bit late in the season for Spring Marathoners and Half Marathoners to do that now, but if you have a Fall longer race on the docket, consider playing around with some summer 5K’s and 10K’s. I promise it helps. I have also found it helps to spur motivation – gets you excited and in the zone.


I’ve been thinking about a podcast I listened to a while ago from Brenè Brown. I can get cynical and overdosed on the Self-Help genre, but I find her to be smart, honest, and humble, and she brings me in. She was talking about encountering someone who really got under her skin, who was acting self-entitled and rude. She judged this person and felt self-righteous. Her therapist then asked her this question: Do you think that person is doing the best that she can? Brenè wasn’t sure. She had to think about this and took the question to other people. “Do you think that most people are doing the best that they can? Given their particular situation.” Most people said yes – fundamentally that’s what they believed. One friend said, “No way – look at me breast feeding all day and night – it’s the hardest thing I’ve done but some people just don’t put in the work”.  And Brenè sat there, having tried but not managed to breast feed her babies – and felt the weight of that judgement. She suddenly viewed the person who she had been judging in a completely different light. Who knows what set of circumstances she had been raised with, what she was mentally and physically capable of, what she was battling, … She was probably doing the best that she could.


I think if we navigate the world with this view, it can give us a sense of optimism and empowerment. It’s not to let anyone off the hook.. Sometimes the best someone can do isn’t very good (for example when your best leads to treating someone badly). And maybe not everyone is doing the best they can. But for the most part, most people are. If we can take this view and turn it back on ourselves, that becomes self-compassion. And it’s control. The only thing we can control is our effort. We might not all be genetically on the same playing field or have the same education and experience or even views and values. But we can do the best that we can.


This is a good mindset to hold onto in races. We cannot control the outcome. We don’t know exactly how our muscles and mitochondria will respond to effort and pace on a hill, when the weather is a certain temperature, and with a certain amount of fuel being shuttled to our cells. We’re not sure if the bad sleep we had two nights ago will affect us negatively, or if that little twinge we’ve been feeling will act up. Things could go sideways in the middle of the race and we might realize we are not having “a good one”. And then, all we can do is the best we can. That we can control. Given x, y and z, what is the best I can do right now. This is not a mindset to offer excuses. It is a mindset to remove judgement. Do the best you can. That’s all you can do. That might look very different from one day to the next. But just keep doing it. And assume that others are as well. It’s a nice outlook.


On to tomorrow’s workout! Back to Lakeshore and Leslie – 6:05 Drills, 6:15 GO


  1. 2 sets of (1 mile @ tempo, 2 min rest, 2 x 800 @ 10K w 1:30 rest) – 3 min bw sets. THEN choice of a finisher – 1 mile @ marathon race pace OR if aiming for 5K/10K’s – 2 x 400 @ 5K pace (1:15 rest). If not training for anything specifically you can leave the finisher out.
  2. Option 2 for ppl who haven’t been training for anything longer this spring, just one set of Mile-800-800 and include 2-4 x 400 at the end. Not as much volume for you, so see if you can really work the paces.


This is the last big workout for Boston people. You got this.


See you in the am!