Tuesday, 26 October 2010

Expectation Vs Ability

There are those times that we raise our expectations and then realised we perhaps don’t have quite the ability to get our outcome and we then know what we need to do, learn or work on to achieve that outcome. Well what happens when it works the other way round.

I was racing the other day when my brain was telling me what I was capable of and the minutes per mile I should be running. Training had been going well and I was going to feel happy to keep an even pace throughout the 10 miles. Well one mile in and I’m feeling good and check the time and I’m nearly a minute quicker than I was planning. ‘Oh dear – I’d better slow down or I’ll never last!’ So slow down I did, or so I thought and the next mile was a few seconds quicker again. I felt fine and yet over the next 3 more miles I continually told myself to slow down and that I would never last the distance, and yet I stayed within a couple of seconds time on each mile. I was supposed to be doing the first half slowly and seeing what I had left for the next couple of miles before upping the pace for the last couple.

But ability had other ideas and decided it didn’t care what expectation thought it was going to run as it felt – not following a timetable and I decided a change of plan was needed and I would reverse what I was going to do and run the first half quicker and then I could slow up in the second half and still hit my expectations….. Ability had a good giggle at this and continued to run as it felt. At around mile 6 I decided it would be more helpful to stop arguing between expectation and ability – I could put the energy I was using up to much better use!
And so I continued on and enjoyed the fact that I was running better than I expected and congratulated myself on an excellent training plan for this year as taking it slowly and building back up from injury was most definitely working. I crossed the line about 9 minutes quicker than expected.

One Nil to Ability!

A few days later was the first cross country race of the season and having run all three days from the race above to this one I was looking to run evenly and easily – and obviously expectation was putting some limits in - did my legs still feel heavy from the previous race? Had I recovered enough? Should I have run each day since…...? Luckily for me ability had an ally in that my friend Becs was running alongside (normally much faster and had done 20 miles the day before in preparation for the New York Marathon) and kept me going all the way round and I finished again much quicker than I expected especially for a cross country. So the stamina is there to keep going even on tired heavy legs and we even had enough for a sprint finish!!

Two Nil to Ability…..

My question now is how often do we let expectation talk ability out of performing and what would we achieve if we gave ability a free reign?

Thursday, 8 July 2010

Best explanation of the offside rule for those who prefer shopping to football!!

Thank you to Corrine O’B for this piece of brilliance

You're in a shoe shop, second in the queue for the till. Behind the shop assistant on the till is a pair of shoes which you have seen and which you must have. The female shopper in front of you has seen them also and is eyeing them with desire.

Both of you have forgotten your purses. It would be totally rude to push in front of the first woman if you had no money to pay for the shoes. The shop assistant remains at the till waiting.

Your friend is trying on another pair of shoes at the back of the shop and sees your dilemma. She prepares to throw her purse to you. If she does so, you can catch the purse, then walk round the other shopper and buy the shoes. At a pinch she could throw the purse ahead of the other shopper and, *whilst it is in flight* you could nip around the other shopper, catch the purse and buy the shoes.

Always remembering that until the purse had *actually been thrown* it would be plain wrong to be forward of the other shopper.

A great reminder to speak to someone in a language they understand!!

Thursday, 20 May 2010

Moving on.....

An update…. Well running is still slow as I build up again, my body isn’t working at it’s best (having some tests at the Docs) and hoping that if I can get through the next few weeks then when I am back on form there will be a good jump in my stamina and speed….. here’s hoping……

I have to admit I did chicken out of running the St Albans 10K as I knew it would be a personal worst and decided to have an extra glass of wine the night before instead of running. My head just wasn’t ready to accept what the time might have been.

So moving forward I have signed up for the NSPCC Milton Keynes half Marathon in July which has given me some structure to my training and in July I will be running the Marston 5K which is run by my running club (Ampthill & Flitwick Flyers) a good flat race and one I have decided will be a jog round. At the end of June I’ve also signed up for the Thame 10K with another runner and so this one I will not be able to chicken out of as we will go together – strategy in place having learned after not running St Albans.

I have signed up for the Park Runs which are on a Saturday, free, 5K runs no pressure. I did sign up in March and haven’t got to one yet! Still they are in the diary and are now part of my cunning plan…..

Thursday, 18 March 2010

What do you want?

"The indispensable first step to getting the things you want out of life is this: decide what you want."
- Ben Stein
Actor, writer, commentator, lawyer, teacher, humorist

How often do we wait for things to happen, wait for someone else to do something, wait to see what’s happening around us before we make a decision?

How many opportunities have we lost because we haven’t thought about what we want out of life, like a ship that sets sail without a destination in mind – it will get somewhere but where is a whole different matter.

One of the fundamentals in NLP is knowing your outcome, knowing what you want – this can range from getting your weekly food shop to changing the direction of your life – and everything in between!

So you have decided what you want, what next….. make it real, really step into it, go into the future and see what’s happening around you, what are you doing, what are other people doing, what are you saying to yourself and others, how do you feel?

By being really clear about what we want means we can start to see all the opportunities around us to make it happen. I have a friend who people call 'lucky', he always seems to land on his feet, even when things around him seem to be going wrong, or not going in the direction he wants to go – by keeping in mind what he wants he can stay open to opportunities around him as they happen and take those that, at first glance, may not be a direct path, but will be a step in the right direction.

How do I use this, well, you can see me put this into practice very specifically in my first running blog.

So what do you want at work, at home, with friends and colleagues, for the short term, for the long term and what are you going to do to start making it happen?

As a final note, if you’ve made a decision as to what you want and as you get towards it you realise that perhaps it’s not what you thought it was or what you really want then stop, re-think it and then go for it – you want to follow a path that takes you where you want to go. Be careful of following a path through stubborness!!

Going back to basics

Over the last year because of injury my running stopped being fun and started to become a chore – not very motivating! Because of this I went down from training about 5 days a week to about 5 days a month (unfortunately I didn’t change my eating habits!)

I decided to step back and rethink my outcome – what did I want to get from running…..

I wanted to be outside and enjoying the different seasons, I wanted to get fit, I want to fulfil my potential as a runner (not that of an Olympic athlete, but to my full potential!) I started to imagine what that would be like and how I would know I’ve got there – so for me to achieve my outcome this year would be to run the Bedford half Marathon in December in a personal best for that course. I can see myself, running smoothly, relaxed and enjoying the feeling of achieving a good time for me and hearing the cheers of my running friends as I cross the line!

A plan for the year was required – spurned on by three runs without any pain I decided I was ready to put a plan of action together and split the year into three areas – building stamina, building speed, racing the distance.

Building stamina – March to June

This means that for the next few months I am concentrating on building up the number of runs and training sessions I do with my running club (Ampthill & Flitwick Flyers) and slowly build up my long run at the weekend. During this time I am concentrating on building up stamina and running for longer. I have put in for two races – the St Albans 10K in May and the Marston 5K in June which are going to give me some benchmarks for the summer training. At the club we also have a 5K time trail in April and so this will let me know where I am in reality, rather than where I think I am or where I would like to be! During this time I need to be aware of not doing too much too quickly and re-injuring myself.

Building speed – July to September

Now this is when I want to concentrate on building up my speed, coming from a base of stamina and because of the slow build up still being injury free! I am hoping for a lovely hot summer, which means I will need to get out early in the day as heat is not my best friend when running. During this time I will pick out some 10K and 5K races so I can see how I am doing – this is not just about times getting quicker, it is also about how I feel after, heart rate recovery and how quickly my body recovers ready for the next run.

Getting ready for the Half Marathon – October to December

Bringing all this training together for the longer Autumn runs – specifically the Swineshead 10 Mile in September – to give me a benchmark over a longer distance and I then know what I need to do to get my goal for my December half marathon.

So here I start – I now know my outcome for the year and the milestones I want to achieve along the way and some of the hazards that could trip me up!