Tuesday, January 22, 2008
1 Brief But Useful Training Tip, & Some Reflections on Achieving Balance in Running & in Life in General
I found this common-sense training tip in Runner's World (i.e., under Training-->Training Essentials-->Training Tips). While it's short & sweet, it certainly makes a whole lot of sense!
Taking a balanced approach to training is, of course, a recurring piece of wisdom, espoused by coaches, personal fitness trainers, and runners alike.
When our training is not going well or is somehow out of whack, it's usually because we need to reassess our training balance: Are we working out our upper & lower body, core & limbs, brain & heart, all in equal measure?
Of course, balance in training, as well as in life, is often easier said than done. Most of us runners lead busy lives, filled with continual activities revolving around work, family, friends, & our communities at large. How do we manage it all?
Some of us have gained mastery in this area by continual practical application. Dare I also use the dreaded "D" word -- discipline?! Does that particular word possibly conjure mental images of schoolmasters vehemently cracking pupils' hands with rulers, à la Pink Floyd's The Wall? ;-) If that's too harsh of a word for you to consider, then simply just reframe it as "the mindful, determined pursuit of one's goals through continual practice." ;-) Most of us are doing this already with our weekly runs, so it's really not such a scary concept after all, especially when you consider the path you've already paved with your existing accomplishments.
And sometimes we find that it's necessary to sacrifice certain goals & pursuits to make others happen. Of course, that's not necessarily a bad thing either; it's just a reality, especially at certain major junctures of our lives.
Achieving a sense of balance in our lives in general, as well as in our training, is, for many of us, a lifelong challenge. And I think that's a good thing to think about -- not just when life is calm & easy, but also when the chaos & stress ratchet up a few notches. This is what Hemingway liked to call "grace under pressure." And it's a very important skill to possess. While we might sometimes let a few balls drop when we juggle all of the priorities and projects in our life, the important thing is to maintain balance through it all, as best as possible, and to keep sight of our most important priorities.
Also, priorities are often fluid and subject to change from time to time, depending on various factors in our lives. And being open to these shifting goals and new possibilities is often a positive sign of growth.
Also, if we are truly honest with ourselves, sometimes we just need to be flexible and see that what we once labeled a "priority" is really designated solely because it's a "want" versus a "need."
This is where reassessment comes in handy! When we go through life on autopilot, it's because we've usually buried my head in the sand, and don't wish to "wake up" and see the reality of what's around us. Exercise wakes up the body and mind, reconnecting the two entities together, reacquainting them (!), & usually restoring the balance between the two as well! Exercise helps us get back to basics and "work out" all of these issues and more - both literally & figuratively speaking!
On that note, the reassessment period can take on a larger scope: We wake up to the influences in our lives, re-evaluating all of the people, activities, energies, and things we let into our lives.
It's these epiphanies which give us the necessary insight on how to move forward in our lives, and the ability to know which priorities are truly essential to our being & happiness, many of which have formed the backbone of our own individual character.
I know I've said it a zillion times on this blog, and I'll say it again: Becoming aware of all of your qualities, tendencies, & general behaviors, in a gentle and non-obstructive way, and courageously embracing them is the best way to make positive, conscious choices in a direction of your own choosing. These choices may take you in a new direction, but maybe that's what's required to get you to the next step. (I know I'm at that exact point in my life, right now in fact!)
We are not always ready to see the path before us, but when we are, it's imperative that we not waste any time & just get down to the business of living.
And maintaining continual awareness & reassessing our progress from time to time should help us to do just that!
OK, enough philosophizing! It's time for me to put my money where my mouth is, follow my own advice, & act!