One of the best pieces of advice I share with endurance athletes is to stay in the moment. It is so easy during a long event to start thinking or even worrying about miles that are yet to come. This is often all too common when we find ourselves in a mile where we might be struggling. When things get hard we start to worry about how we can possibly make it to mile 20 when we are only 10 miles into a marathon.
Staying in the mile that you are in and focusing on what you are currently dealing with makes an endurance event much more manageable. Especially when it comes to marathons, there are far too many miles to start looking too far ahead. Each mile is different and brings forth different feelings and emotions. By focusing on the one you are currently in, you can enjoy a race more and worry a lot less.
It is also important to remember that just about any time you go for a run, every mile feels a little different. Some miles feel awesome and you want to run forever. Others just plain suck. It is an ever changing cycle. Have you ever left for a run and thought, “I feel so great I’m going to go for 10!” only to find that after three miles in, you no longer enjoy the run and want to call it quits? On the flip side, we have all had runs where we dread even walking out the door. But after a few miles we find a groove and end up having some of our best miles ever. These very reasons are why you need to stay in the moment.
While this plays out in races and training, it also is something important to remember in our daily lives. The past few weeks have been exciting whirlwinds in our household. We have a little infant who is rolling and trying to crawl and her personality is coming out. We both have jobs we love and find ourselves so busy it is hard to find time to fit everything in. And I love the colors and chaos and fun that the holiday season brings. But we have found ourselves sleep deprived, crazy busy and wondering where we are headed most of the time.
Saturday night we had our first date since Mary was born and went to see the Nutcracker performed by the Joffrey Ballet. As the lights turned off and the magic of a Christmas story began to play out, I found myself reaching down to look at my watch. I stopped myself, dropped my shoulders and let my body relax next to my husband.
Life (and running) is a wonderful adventure that is meant to be enjoyed. By checking myself, I was able to appreciate everything the Nutcracker had to offer. The athleticism of ballet, the theatrics on the stage, and the beautiful orchestra and chorus brought forth a wonderful story. It brought me back to the magic I felt during the holiday season as a young girl. It was a truly special night and a great reminder.
We are often so worried about what the end result will be whether it a race finish or goals in life, that we get so focused on the end and forget to enjoy the process. Enjoy the holiday season and every day. Stay in the moment!