The best we can
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
- 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.
- 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!