March Forward February 13 2015

I've been feeling a little "stuck" lately. I can clearly see my goal, but I feel like I'm slogging through a river of mud to reach it. You too?

Getting 'unstuck' is as physical as it is mental, and I've found a few tips to keep us marching forward when times are tough.

On March 1, I will run the Little Rock, Arkansas Full Marathon.  The race is billed as "EPIC", as is the bling.  We have a great group of friends and family traveling down for the race weekend, and I have an amazing mob of mom-a-thoners with whom to run the 26.2.  I am truly thrilled for this event! 

So, why have I been finding it so hard to get in the training needed to make my finish time as terrific as the weekend is slated to be?  

I have my list of excuses, and they are valid ones at that:
* It's too cold to run outside
* It gets dark so early that I'm home too late to run outside
* Work has me running around so much that I don't have time to run inside or out

All of the above are true, and so is the fact that I feel stuck in the rut known as "daily life".  That's not a bad thing - life is good - but I could work on making it better by freeing myself from some of my self-imposed constraints.  I think we all could benefit from that throughout life.

So, we know the why...  now, the how:

Change Our Approach: Sometimes a step outside the norm is the best thing to shake up a seemingly standstill situation, so try working on something different than the problem that plagues you.  In workout terms, that may mean taking a Zumba class to rejuvenate a stalled running routine; work-life wise, it could mean standing up from your desk and taking a quick walk outside to shake loose an idea.  Physical movement also moves the mind.  

When I have "stuck brain" or "mired mind", I lace up my sneakers and get moving.  I also find the post-workout shower as beneficial because the sound of water is soothing.  Beloved 'Grandma Fran' used to say the same about washing dishes - a win-win because your mind clears as the sink basin does!

Change Our Mindset: I'm a huge advocate of having a "workout buddy" - sometime to stride alongside you when the miles are tough.  I believe as strongly in also having a "talk-it-out buddy" - a person who not only listens to the issues at hand and provides support, but also can change the subject when needed.  If you can find a person with whom you can both walk and talk at the same time - success!

As a volunteer marathon coach since 2007, I've met some great friends while training.  I find that people talk more openly and honestly when they are moving - maybe it's the endorphins that make us feel better or the fact that we are so focused on the one-foot-in-front-of-the-other idea that we think less about putting on airs.  Whatever it is, running your mouth helps your mind from running amok.

Change Our Focus: The task at hand may be overwhelming, but the reason of why you started in the first place should be clear.  Take a moment to remember why you are doing this - turning your attention toward your "why" will help clear the path toward your "how" and "when".

In the case of the Little Rock Marathon, my focus for doing the Full is to challenge myself, conquer a new state racing-wise and celebrate with friends, newfound and eternal.  Keeping that in mind, I am ready to go.