Thursday, January 16, 2014

Focus, Focus, Focus. Where Do You Aim Your Focus?

Since I decided about three weeks ago to change up my training, my running has been going very well.  I am enjoying it and I have released the pressure I was feeling about not meeting certain objectives.  I still have said objectives, like mileage per week, mileage per month, pace, and time, but I am not letting those objectives control my outlook on running.  Last week I set a goal of 53 miles, but wasn’t able to meet that goal because of weather conditions one day and other needs arising another day.  I ended up short by about 15 miles.  I set the same goal for this week.  So far, I am right on track and plan on staying on track, but only time and life will tell if I am able to hit that goal.  If I do, fantastic!  If not, I refuse to stress about it and lose sleep over it.  As long as I am doing everything over which I have control to meet my goals, then I have no reason to not be satisfied with my effort.  If, however, I find myself making excuses that interfere with my forward progress, then that is an entirely different story.  Then it will be important to examine the motivation behind those excuses.  Until anything like that becomes apparent, I am quite satisfied with my progress and I will continue working towards my goals until I reach them.  At that point, I will implement more goals to hold myself accountable for forward progression.

I have, over the past week, started utilizing pace in my training, again.  Because I am more interested in time spent moving instead of distance moved, I have an average pace set up for different lengths of time.  The shorter the time moving, the faster I am keeping the pace so I am still pushing myself, though I am not rigidly holding to a set pace; more, an average pace.  My motivation at this point is to be outside, moving, as much as possible and to enjoy it while I am doing it.  If I’m not enjoying it, then there is no point.  It becomes a hindrance instead of a joy and that is not worth it to me.

It’s refreshing to have the pleasure back and it is enlivening to not be holding myself to such rigid standards in my running.  Goals and objectives are great and they help keep people on track when going for something specific, but when I allowed my goals and objectives to take over the big picture, that picture became muddy.  It was filled with drudgery.  It held a centralized focus aimed solely at the end destination.  Now, the picture is bright and crisp, yet soft in focus as I explore and experience the journey.  I am in the process of researching and writing a post which analyzes how we use our physical sight and our mental vision, how each one has a soft and a hard focus (and how the soft and hard focus work together), how the focus of both can become oriented more towards the hard than the soft, and how the physical and mental vision work in tandem.  It goes into much more detail than I cover here and will be posted soon.  In the meantime, here are some questions for discussion.

Where is your focus in your training and in life?  Do you sometimes become so focused on one area that you lose sight of other areas?  What do you do to soften your focus and bring it back to the journey?  Do you ever struggle with softening your focus?

Thursday, January 2, 2014

My Experience, So Far, Since Shifting My Focus to the Journey

Two runs, so far, this week.  Both based solely on total time.  Both runs, I was pleasantly surprised at the distance and the pace.  Both runs felt great.  It was good to just get out there and run for the love of running, to enjoy my surroundings without any pressure to hit any other target than the amount of time I was out there.  Even that was no pressure because I set a range, rather than a specific time, and finished up when I was ready to finish.  Monday, I went for just under an hour.  Wednesday, I went for just over an hour and a half.  Today, well, we’ll see.  It’s supposed to be a miserably cold, windy, and rainy day out there.  It’s a good thing I have my Marmot rain jacket and plenty of layers in which to dress.

My thought is to go for anywhere from two to three hours to start rebuilding my endurance.  Pace is not a factor, right now.  Time spent running and walking is.  This is my focus.  This, and enjoying the movement, the feel of the road and the trail under my feet, the sweat running from the effort involved, the wind reddening my cheeks and nose, the air filling my lungs, then releasing back into the atmosphere.  I live for this, for these times.  I love this.  I am excited about today’s run.  I hope you are looking forward to what your day holds for you, as well.