Last Sunday, Barb and I ran the oldest road race in North America, the 30K Around the Bay.
This is a popular warm up race for those who are running a Spring marathon. It’s not popular for those who are not in shape.
I was not close to being prepared for this 18.6 mile endurance test. For the past 6 weeks I have had to prioritize work over running.
As Oprah Winfrey says, “Running is the greatest metaphor for life because you get out of it what you put into it.” Since I hadn’t prepared, I knew that I would not achieve a personal best performance.
My running predicament is similar to work challenges that we are not prepared for. In these situations, you usually don’t perform at your best. You can,however, focus on being the best you can be under these circumstances.
Here is a checklist of things you can do to manage yourself when you are unprepared:
– Be realistic–False expectations often leads to big errors: starting the race too fast would have weakened me further and increased the probability of being injured
– Confirm what you know–what facts and experiences can you leverage? I had run this race twice before so I knew where the hills were
– Ask for help–Barb shared that a final killer hill had been removed from the course so I adjusted my speed accordingly
– Call on your strengths–Draw upon your skills and what you do well: I made sure that I perfectly angled my turns that eliminated extra distance I would needlessly run
– Adjust your approach if it isn’t working: I usually speed up in the last mile, but this time my legs cramped and I dropped my speed until I could regain my gait
– Remind yourself that the situation is temporary–you are managing a moment in time: Counting down the remaining kilometres gave me confidence that I would manage through my challenges and reach the finish line
– Document your learnings–documentation is a way of committing knowledge to memory: I captured my reflections and lessons learned about the race in my running log as soon as I could hobbled to my office.
My results were not my best, but they were the best I could have achieved under these circumstances. I ran 30k in 3 hours, 7 minutes and 55 seconds. This time is 8 minutes slower than last year’s race when I was training for a marathon, yet 4 minutes faster than the year before when I wasn’t.
Sometimes being unprepared is unavoidable in both our personal and work lives. Being the best you can be under the circumstances can be good enough.