Control what you can
Well, what can I say. This is supposed to be a rejoicing and celebrating time, but for many of us right now it is mixed with a large dose of anxiety, disappointment and maybe even illness. That’s not to say it’s all bad – we will still do what we can to celebrate with our loved ones and get outside for runs and play and read good books and eat good food and drink good drinks.
This makes me think of the anxiety many athletes feel before big competitions. Sports psychologists and coaches have to remind us that we should only spend energy on things we can control. And even that – within reason. Here’s what we can control: showing up to workouts, working on our positive mindset throughout workouts, our nutrition, our sleep (to an extent), how we will conduct ourselves within the race. Here is what we can’t control: the weather on the day of our competition, who else will show up, what our competitors will do, whether we get sick or injured over the course of training. We are told to be as prepared as we can with what we can control, and take a deep breath, and not worry about the uncontrollables. As long as we are confident with what we’ve done then we will do our best and accept the outcome. And again – this is all within reason. Most athletes will probably reflect that there was a tiny bit more they could have done, but at a certain point that becomes obsessive, and you just have to be ok with what you’ve done as your best effort. Not to mention, doing “more” could start to bring diminishing returns.
I feel like a similar mindset might help us right now. Yes, there are many things we can control. Get on top of those things. We can get vaccinated, get boosted, wear masks, follow public health guidelines, work on our compassionate mindset … But at a certain point we have to say “I’m doing all I can do within reason” and then be ok with that. We shouldn’t expend energy on things we can’t control: what other people are doing, what mutations the virus will take next, what restrictions we’ll be facing next. At some point we just have to say, I’ve done the best I can and I will deal with whatever comes my way. Locking yourself in a cave with no social contact or activities for an unforeseeable future is likely not going to benefit your overall health and well-being – that’s the obsessive mindset leading to diminishing returns. So do what you can and then be ready to deal with whatever comes your way. And while we’re at it, let’s all throw in a good dose of compassion and grace for ourselves and our neighbours. We could all use more of that.
Workout for this week is hills!
With a twist. For these ones, here’s the drill (and only if the footing is ok – I’m not sure what it’s like in TO right now):
Run down fast, up easy.
The key here is to run down with a strong stride and mid-to-forefoot strike (vs. sitting back on your heels). This does two things: 1 – reinforces a long stride length with power (not over-striding, but covering more ground with each stride) and 2 – really works those eccentric contractions for strength. Coming down with more force will be harder on your muscles. Expect to feel a little sore the next day, but this is good training for those of you getting ready for hilly races!
Same number as usual – don’t raise the volume – this is a new strength stimulus!
Pottery or hill in the Beach. I leave it to you guys to coordinate.
Enjoy! I’ll do my own version here.