I really needed to get a run in today since I’m way behind on mileage for the week, but I’ve not been particularly looking forward to it, and I turned on my computer intending to find a good podcast to keep me company on my miles (I’ve been looking forward to checking out the James Randi Educational Foundation’s new podcast), but that was over an hour ago, and I haven’t even opened iTunes, although I have caught up on all the posts over at Dinner: A Love Story, and now I think I’m hungry, and it’s getting late, and apparently today is well on its way to being an unplanned rest day. So be it. Instead of running, I’m going to write about running. As you do in this internet age. No problem, I’ll just plan on 5 miles for Friday, Saturday and Sunday, and I’ll be all set.
It did make me think, though, of a Lifehacker post I read this morning that reports on research that suggests that telling people your goals and intentions actually makes you less likely to meet them. According to the post, “Announcing your plans to others satisfies your self-identity just enough that you’re less motivated to do the hard work needed.” So, saying I’m planning to make up my weekly mileage in the last days of the week might backfire on me. Writing a blog about my plans to be as fast at 29 as I was at 16 might help cause me to never get there. They say “If you do tell a friend [about your goals], make sure not to say it as a satisfaction (“I’ve joined a gym and bought running shoes. I’m going to do it!”), but as dissatisfaction (“I want to lose 20 pounds, so kick my ass if I don’t, OK?”).”
In running to race, though, I feel like it’s possible to do both simultaneously. Saying “I’m totally going to run a 22-minute 5K!” is both an affirmation (in that I will do it, and it will be awesome) and an expression of discontent (in that, if it’s still my goal time, I haven’t hit it yet).
My 20 miles-a-week really aren’t my goal. My race time is. On days like today, I think I get too bogged down in thinking of my mileage and that day’s run as the goal. I need to remember that they’re only tools to get me where I want to be: the finish line in 22. I’m on my way (just not tonight).