I hate to admit it when I fail, but as I’ve gotten older and experienced times where things hadn’t gone the way I planned, I’ve learned: failure is a part of life. You can read about the concept in books, see it played out in movies, hear about it from the advice of your elders, but until you’ve paid that bank fee for an overdrawn checking account or skipped out on interview preparation and subsequently bombed the interview, you’re learning lessons in the abstract.
Instead of viewing failure as a personal character flaw, what if, instead we saw failure as:
- An opportunity to improve
- A wake-up call that things are not going right
- As a new beginning in our lives
Today, I failed miserably in my plan to run, despite all of the planning, preparation, sleep and intention that I had to go out and accomplish it.
I’m training for a half marathon (13.1 miles), which means that I need to make time for incrementally long runs each weekend up until the time of the race. I’ve done 5 half marathons prior to this, so I know about the basic concepts: develop a training schedule, (generally) stick to it, and make sure you’re getting enough sleep, stretching and food. Following these principles has been enough to keep me going in the past.
Today, I was supposed to run 10.5 miles.
Before leaving the house today, I had a thought, “I should drink some more water.” I kept thinking, “I should have something to eat.” Instead of listening to these thoughts, I ignored them, started out on my run into the rainy Saturday.
Even when I started off, I was weak. My legs felt tired and I felt hungry, a kind of hunger that I couldn’t just forget about by jogging it off. I tried to push forward, convincing myself that I would be able to push through the run.
After the one mile mark, I couldn’t believe the slow pace I had already – much slower than usual. I was dragging myself, unhappily, through the hills of San Francisco.
I was running up a hill that leads to the Golden Gate Park and couldn’t go on any longer, so I stopped. Not even 2 miles, said the distance reading on RunKeeper, my running app.
What did I do wrong? How can I make sure this doesn’t happen again?
- Drink enough water the day before and the morning of
- Eat food 2 hours – one and a half hours before running (I’ve found that eating 2 pieces of bread at this time gives me enough time to digest before the run)
- Eat consistently and decently the day before (with an ultra-light menu of food the day before, this also impacted how I felt when I went out to run)
- Stretch! Especially using The Stick on tight muscles
For me, it was frustrating that I had been the own cause of my failure in this case. But, it was a lesson in self-care: I know it’s important for me to eat regular meals and make sure I eat enough (a problem that I never had until I started running half marathons).
So, I will be out there again tomorrow morning, this time a little better prepared for success after my recent failure.
What is a major setback or failure that you have had recently, and what lessons did you learn from it to make sure you don’t make the same mistakes next time?