I am 6 weeks into my running training season and trying to focus on progress, not perfection. It is impossible to be perfect, and it is exhausting to try. There is a fine line between being focused and passionate and worrying and obsessing over every detail. Part of the story is who I am and how I think things through to the nth degree. A few blog posts I read this week reminded me that the mental game is also about progress-not perfection.
Deuce Gym posted this blog post about mental training, and this great post about The Only 7 things you can control in life were both reminders that any kind of training or preparation should always begin with mental training. And mental training also takes time. Progress is not a straight line. Progress is about trying to do a little bit every day to move forward, and sometimes you slip back and that is ok. Progress is about effort and consistency and showing up-both mentally and physically.
As I look back on my 6th week of race specific training I managed to navigate a very stressful work week and at the same time decided to ramp up my physical training to help me focus more on my race goal. There was also the added stress of waking up an hour earlier due to the time change, combined with 4 early workout days. My physical progress was on point, but mentally I struggled a bit. But I reminded myself that just a year ago, in spite of successfully physically training for my 7th half marathon, my mental game was a train wreck. I was stuck in a very negative place with no way out. This week my mental struggle was pretty insignificant in the game of life. I was able to breathe through it, let it go, and regain focus and perspective pretty easily.
I have given myself permission to have a bad day or a bad moment and not beat myself up over it for long. I realize I sometimes focus way too much on what I need and how I feel at any given moment and perhaps the way to positivity is to let that go and focus on progress. This is going to take practice, but I am going to try to follow my own advice about progress-not perfection.