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Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Adjusting your expectations.

This past weekend, I was 150 meters into my 1500 and I thought, "Well, this is not what I, now what?" The race had gone out blazing fast and I knew immediately that what I 'expected' from the race as far as time, place, and effort was shot - time for an adjustment.

As the race played out, I found myself giving my body an internal high-five for sticking out what turned out to be a very anaerobic effort from the get-go. Hold here. Surge there. Stay with her. Pass her. Mechanics, mechanics, mechanics. Push off the ground. Momentum forward.

When the final 400 rolled around, in what I found to be the longest 1500 EVER, I was not in the position I had expected but that did not mean I had lowered my standards, it just meant I had NEW standards.

I think about this term, adjusting your expectations and realize that as athletes we are often harder on ourselves than we would ever expect or want a loved one, let alone an acquaintance to be. Yet, it is okay for us because we hold ourselves to a different standard.

Not only does this apply to our running but to our daily lives, our relationships, our work, our everything. Now, I am the first to admit that I fall into this category as well. I will tell a friend in an instant to relax and stop beating herself up if she did not get something done, if she ate terribly one day, if she just didn't get to the laundry today. But, you can bet I am not going to give myself the same pep talk and in fact more likely I will chastise myself internally and angrily beat myself down for something I did not get to that day or finish when I wanted to finish, a race that I did not win or run super fast, or a workout that was

Don't get me wrong, I HATE excuses and I am not petitioning for them. I also understand that this type of mental attitude is partially what makes us athletes just that, athletes. But, at some point you have to be able to step back and adjust your expectations as your priorities and circumstances change.

Because if you beat yourself into a pulp (metaphorically speaking) every time something does not turn out how you expect, it begins to be much more difficult to put yourself back together again. What adjustments can you make today?


  1. I'm sure you found this when you were injured too, but right now I'm adjusting the expectations I have for how my body will perform. Currently I know I'm a pretty good on the stationary bike and in the pool, but I know when I go out for my first run back I shouldn't have any expectations. What will really be hard is my first workout back, just knowing what kind of shape I was in before this got out of control. But I have to remind myself that it's part of the process and I can build up to that once again.

    In other ways I beat myself up-when I (and this has happened more often lately) hit the snooze button. Getting up late (later than 6am) is one thing that I have a hard time justifying and then I start telling myself what I could have done with the time I slept in. BUT maybe my body needed that extra sleep-right?!

  2. You just summed it up completely. It is certainly a process and once we realize it, it is much easier to see the thrill in each step and hopefully learn from it.

  3. Thanks Andrija for putting all this into words. I know just how you best as another runner can, and I appreciate your articulation and honesty. I also appreciate your closing line, "What adjustments can you make today?". I do not know exactly how fast you ran or the specific of how the race turned out (results are M.I.A.) but I do know that you have so much more to give to and gain from this sport. I will be cheering you on the whole way. Best to you, hope to see you again soon!
    (you also got me thinking... I really need to start putting entries up on my blog!)