Training for “Nothing”

You know how in the opening and ending credits of every Seinfeld episode they show bits of his stand-up? There’s this one where he talks about people who workout and the hilarious (and maybe pointless?) cycle they seem to be in. I’m paraphrasing, but basically he says that all the people in the gym are not really working out “for” anything–other than being able to do the next workout. He says it in a way that’s pretty easy to see the humor in. You work really hard and push yourself so that you can be prepared for the next day when you go to the gym and work hard and push yourself.

Alright, I get that especially to my super fit blogosphere and I, this joke falls a little flat. Of course there are tons of reasons to work out and to do it with solid effort:

  • To improve and maintain health
  • Feel and look better on the outside
  • Relieve depression and feel better on the inside
  • Set a good example of self-care to kids and loved ones
  • It’s fun!

The list could go on but that’s not my point. I thought about this line of comedy because at this moment, I don’t really have any specific goal that I am looking forward to. I’ve got an all women’s 10k that I love that I’m signed up for in June, but I haven’t really set a time goal for it. I am in the process of trying to get faster and I hope to run it well, but it’s not something that’s on my mind when I’m running or strength training.

I’ve started to think lately that I’m a bit of an oddball. Most people I know, especially bloggers, like to set some sort of goal–something they are aiming for. I can see how it gives their training a sense of purpose. It makes perfect sense to me. The truth is, I’ve had a hard time thinking of anything as much of a goal since the marathon. And since I have no desire to run another marathon anytime soon and improve my time, I’ve been a bit goalless.

I can’t decide if this is a bad thing. I don’t suffer from what seems to be the number one affliction of not having a goal which is lack of motivation. I genuinely love running and strength training and yoga–I have no desire to ever live without them. I’ll consistently get in 5-6 workouts a week whether I have something specific to aim for or not.

I guess I’ve been wondering if goal setting is generally linked to success. Are people who routinely set specific objectives for themselves leading more triumphant and meaningful lives than those of us who don’t?

This can all get pretty murky very quickly as obviously different people have different ideas of what success is. I reside in the camp that refuses to look at success linearly. I struggle a lot with all of my endeavors and I love a great story, so for me the simple, work hard= get what you want line is not only inconsistent with my experience, it’s also boring and oversimplified. In our culture, failure connotes such doom and finality. I think that’s wrong. If we’re failing, then we’re trying. If we’re failing all the time, then holy shit we’re really putting ourselves out there and consistently giving it a shot. I think that’s something to be proud of. It’s the not trying at all that should be challenged–not the failure.

I think because I can stay on track without a clear objective, I’ve actively resisted jumping back on the goal bandwagon. After spending pretty much all of 2017 with my eyes set on specific prizes, I’ve seem set to prove that goals aren’t necessary. As I write all of this though, I’m not sure I’ve even convinced myself that that is true. My marathon goal brought discipline to every single aspect of my life. I wrote consistently, I ate well, I for the most part got to bed at a decent hour. Making that goal a priority provided a tremendous amount of clarity and focus that I got to use for almost everything else in my life. Not a bad deal. Not so crazy to see if I can have that again, right?

I guess it’s understandable that I’ve needed a bit of a break, a few months to just enjoy being active for the love of being active. Perhaps now that I’ve had that pause, it’s time to get going again. But what of my goal? I love speedwork and tempo runs so I’m sure those will keep me engaged. But is trying to get faster for a 10k interesting enough to write about? We shall see my friends!

I’ve got about 7 weeks till my race and all of the sudden I’m googling “how to get a faster 10k time”. Looks like some serious mile repeat workouts are in my near future! I guess I’ve also got to decide what my actual goal is. I’ll get back to you all with that on my next “training” update.

I can’t lie, watching/tracking the Boston athletes today–I’m inspired as hell. All I want to do is all the hard things.

 

In the meantime, tell me…

Do you always have specific goals set for yourself? Or never? Or sometimes and you take breaks? What works best for you?

Do you think setting goals is an essential part of life, or is the concept pushed too hard?

Do you set goals in all different aspects of your life, or mostly in fitness?

Has it been difficult to set goals and keep them when they seem smaller than what you’ve tried for before? Are you always having to set goals that are “bigger” than what you have previously? Has this been positive/healthy for you, or not?

What’s your goal now–running or otherwise? I wanna know, let me hear it!

 

header image: justyn-warner 

79 thoughts on “Training for “Nothing”

  1. Pingback: 10k Check-In – cat h. bradley

  2. Goals— hmm, tricky one, since, for running, the races I choose are for the scenic beauty, the challenge, the charity…my goal every time is to finish feeling that I ran strong and enjoyed the journey. Even when I train, that’s my goal. Sometimes, I might start a training run and I’ll say, “okay, today I’ll run ‘x’ miles,” but more often my goal is how long I’ll be out (I’m a trail runner so exact distances don’t always work).
    Funny, even in grad school, I never paid attention to my grades; I just wanted to do my best. My professor mentor was shocked when I toldher that. At any given time, I couldn’t tell you whst my grades were.
    It isn’t that I’m “goal-less” but more that I choose to do my best while I’m in the flow of life, I guess. Eat healthy, exercise, and I’ll be fit and strong. Work well and conscientiously, and the kids I serve will be the better for it. Run and train so that I can do it and have fun racing until the day I die, and my soul will be happy.
    Does that make sense?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I LOVE that you choose your races based on the scenic beauty, that’s amazing. Also, makes sense that you would run for time rather than distance seeing as you are a trail runner. There really are a lot of differences to running on the road it seems!
      That’s also really incredible that you’ve been able to maintain the “just do your best” attitude throughout your whole life, I think that’s a really healthy way to live–no regrets. Makes sense to me!! Thanks for chiming in!! x

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  3. After my first Marathon I felt a little lost without having something specific to aim for. I promised myself that I would try to maintain a certain level, but without a goal I did let things slip. It made going for the second marathon more difficult than it needed to be. I think I’ve now got to the point where I am just motivated to keep going without a specific goal which feels liberating to be just running for fun again. I now sign up to the odd event but try not to put too much pressure on myself as I did with the Marathons. That said, I am thinking about signing up for a marathon again, I just worry that suddenly having that on the horizon may cause me to get lost because it has the power to overwhelm my focus and make itself be my only goal – which it shouldn’t be.

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    1. That’s so awesome that you’ve reached this new point where you’re motivated regardless of a goal. Definitely not everyone has that!
      It’s funny, I thought the marathon was going to take over my life when I trained for it–and if you look at it from a certain perspective, it did. But the perspective i see most often is that it poured discipline and focus over literally EVERY other aspect of my life. So while running itself was sort of at the forefront, everything else flourished as well. My hubs always reminds me of the saying, “if you want something done, ask a busy person”. As much as I always want MORE time for things, I really am at my best when I take on a good amount of challenges!
      Excited to see which marathon you choose if you do, always exciting!

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  4. Interesting perspective on goals. I don’t think I purposely set running goals, but more or less let my path in life lead me to them. I remember after finishing my first marathon, I had a similar response: “That’s it? That’s all there was to it?” It was like I was expecting some sort of divine moment or something that just wasn’t there. Also, I just finished my first Boston Marathon in some very difficult conditions, but as I was trying to come to grips with accomplishing that very long and ambitious goal, I found that even without the nasty weather, it was just like most other marathons. The goal was to get there, that was the hard part. Being there was not much different than any of the other marathons I have done. I may not have enjoyed it then, but I just banked a lifelong memory that I’ll never forget.

    As a long time runner, I often think about a running goal and wonder “am I a runner because I seek these goals, or do these goals happen because I am a runner?” I’ve been a runner almost 30 years. I think its the latter.

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    1. I love this Chris, thanks for chiming in! I too think it’s the latter, the goals happen cause you’re a runner. I feel like that running mentality and all that it entails and gives you is so much a part of who I am. I’ve learned i have to be careful with that too though cause I’ve definitely also struggled with attaching too much of my identity to running. I got injured a couple years ago and couldn’t run for about 3 months. For the first part of it, I felt like i didn’t know who i was!
      Your experience in Boston is super enlightening as well. It reminds me to live in the present and take each moment for what it is–whether it’s close or far from what i expected. That memory bank is priceless–it’s incredible to look back, especially as we get older and our perspective on things change. So much to learn from each experience. it’s pretty awesome! thanks for sharing this Chris!

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  5. Stirling

    I don’t set specific goals. I find that the pressure is too much. Besides, if I set a specific goal and then fail to meet that goal, I end up feeling bad. As someone who strives to “live in the present” I’d rather just focus on my day to day training… and by doing that, I can alleviate any pressure to perform or run at a certain level to try and meet some expectation that I’ve created for myself. I’ve even started running without technology… which further distances me from tracking stats that I spent too much time mulling over. I predict that I’ll actually run more efficiently without knowing my pace down to the second.

    Of course, I still have goals — as runners, that’s a given. Having said that, my tactic is to set more ambiguous goals, such as, “running a marathon in all 50 states” – one of my current, long term goals.

    As others have mentioned, you MUST enjoy the process… be in the moment and have fun and be realistic. Doing that, you’ll find that it’s easier to come up with goals that are within reach… and failure won’t be an option. Checking the block, one attainable goal at a time… not looking so far ahead at distant goals, is the key to running success!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I like your advice at the end there for sure–not looking so far ahead at distant goals. I need to do that everywhere in life, not just in my running. Often I get too concerned with outcomes that are really far away–I need to handle only what’s right in front of me, and just take one step at a time. Thanks for chiming in, appreciate your thoughts!

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  6. Pingback: What to Do: London – cat h. bradley

  7. Yes. I too am inspired by Boston. Loved this post, Cat. I went through this same thought process when I shredded my knee and learned my initial goal was to heal. Following that time, was the first time in my 35 years of running I was lost. (I think you already know all that but…) I didn’t have that “next race” or opportunity for the next PR. (well it was just for a second as you know me well enough to know that I am not very good at doing nothing. lol) My trainer helping me through recovery simple said: “there is still Donna” and then he asked how many pull ups I could do. NONE! New goal made. It think my point is, I am not sure it defines success, but it does define personality and how you handle life. Ad that IS success, right? Like “stepping back up to the plate” or “chasing that dang ball in golf. All of those sceneries become a part of us, what we are used to. For me…I get up and go and challenge my me.

    When I first started reading this post, I smiled, knowing before you finished you would have talked yourself right where you need to be… Your you… Love you.

    PS. While I am not supposed to be running, I have been gingerly teaching myself how to jog. ☺️ My doctors said no more running and my husband said maybe you should be slowing down a bit. 😳 So I didn’t tell anyone. Karma….who do you think went by in the Jeep? Yup my husband. Busted. I am who I am…. I don’t plan on changing anytime soon, and my plan to to live to 100. Happy Earth day.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. After reading this I said to my hubs sitting on the couch next to me: “It’s crazy how well some of my blogger friends know me!” You getting how this post was totally me talking myself into where I needed to be–totally what it was.

      You know I’ve had a temporary time when I couldn’t run and I felt just like you–LOST. I think you’re right, it’s the running that is part of who we are, but also the goals. Not the goals themselves so much but the fact that we set them, and try for things, and push ourselves. It’s not the goal, it’s being the person that is willing to push for things. I hope I never lose that–regardless of what I am physically capable of.

      How are those pull-ups going? It’s so crazy, like two years ago, I would do a few sets (assisted) once or twice a week and I really started to see progress. I am not sure why it seems harder this time around! My push-ups are harder too. I am still doing them, but I haven’t gotten to that “easy” point yet where I feel like I can rattle off a set in no time! Perhaps I am getting older…ahh!!!

      I hope you’re jogging around the desert at 100 love–I’d bet on it ;).

      Liked by 2 people

  8. I’m not too much of a goal person. I laugh as I write this, having done the whole med school/residency thing and a number of other things along the way. And at the same time, I’m not terribly driven about these things. Its not the doing for me nearly so much as it is about the journey. I wanted to be a doctor, true, but even more, I wanted to learn about doctoring.
    Likewise with gymnastics, figure skating, glass bead making, gardening, etc, etc. Current things I”m learning about are writing/blogging and this triathlon thing. If its not fun, I have a hard time with it. True, I have an unusual idea of fun according to many.
    I don’t know if you’re familiar with Gretchen Rubin (started with the Happiness Project) Her current book/work is about temperament and motivation and how people are in the world. Its called the Four Tendencies. Easy reading and pretty interesting, and it throws some light on this issue. And since I’m a questioner with rebel tendencies, it makes sense to me that “goals” aren’t going to be a very good driver for me. And for some, they are extremely helpful.

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    1. Your response immediately made me think of something I’ve been trying to remember to read everyday from Oprah. When I read it it speaks to who and how I really want to be and move forward in the world:
      “As much as my work in television has been a big dream, the truth is that I never set out to create this huge life. The path to my success was never about attaining incredible wealth or celebrity. It was about the process of continually seeking to be better, challenging myself to pursue excellence on every level.

      What I know for sure is that it’s only when you make the process your goal that your big dream will follow. That doesn’t mean your process will necessarily lead you to wealth or fame—in fact, your dream may have nothing to do with tangible prosperity, and everything to do with creating a life filled with joy, no regrets and a clear conscience.

      The whole point of being alive is to evolve into the complete person you were intended to be. I believe you can only do this when you stop long enough to hear the whisper you might have drowned out, that small voice compelling you toward the kind of work you’d be willing to do even if you weren’t paid. Once you tune out the noise of your life and hear that call, you face the biggest challenge of all: to find the courage to seek out your big dream, regardless of what anyone else says or thinks.”

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  9. Great post and I love the Seinfeld reference 🙂 For me, working towards something helps me stay motivated. Without it, I’m not sure I’d workout consistently. That being said, I do struggle with setting smaller goals than I’ve tried before. For example, finishing a marathon is a HUGE accomplishment… but now I have to beat my time. I hope to one day qualify for Boston even if it seems far off. I was thinking about the elites and wondering how they set new goals after a major accomplishment. I mean if you are the first place winner at Boston or in the Olympics, what comes next? Maybe a good goal for me would be to just enjoy running for what it is sometimes!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Seinfeld freak over here for sure ;).
      I totally get what you mean about the struggle to set smaller goals–it’s tough. I think after so much chatting with other runners about it I am coming around–especially because i am just not someone who can train for marathons year round and consecutively. It’s just not how my body is built and I’m focused more on my overall longevity. It is amazing to think what type of goals elites must set for themselves. Although I bet they are not that different from ours really, just the scale is a bit different!
      Glad to see you back around! x

      Liked by 2 people

  10. I’m not really training for anything specific right now. I plan on running my city’s half marathon in October, but honestly, there’s no need to start training for it now…even though I’m looking to do my first double-digit run on Sunday, lol. Right now I’m focused on having a great long distance base and getting faster. I’d love to run a sub 2-hour half and run a sub 25-minute 5k one day. Speed isn’t something that comes naturally to me. Losing weight last year helped my step up my game, but I just feel like I’ve regressed somewhat from how I was running at the end of the summer. Who knows. But I do enjoy just lacing up my shoes and going out there for me and sanity!

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    1. Hey girl!! Ah man, I have not done a double digit run in a WHILE. Like months. I think I am ok with it for now but I would like to get a few in this summer–maybe some nice 10 milers, I love that distance.
      I am with you, speed doesn’t come naturally to me either but I do enjoy working on it and seeing what I can do. It’s almost like because it doesn’t come naturally to me I am even more compelled to stretch myself and see what hard work can churn out.

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      1. Well, I didn’t get my double-digit run in. Chris wanted to do a little hiking with Maris before we went over to my parents’ for a late dinner. I’ve done 8 successfully, so this Saturday we will see how my distance is – I’ve signed up for a 10-mile race on Saturday! Tomorrow, I’m meeting a friend and we are doing 400 repeats to work on our speed. Fingers crossed!

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  11. Wow! A lot to answer in that! I do like goals. I do love having something I’m focused on training for. I do feel a let down when it’s over. Which can propel me to the next thing. Yes, I like setting bigger goals. Yes, I am like you, I can do my workouts of strength, running, cycling, and enjoy them and know they are good for me even if I don’t have an event. But its the ridiculous discipline that can be built in focused training times I love. And you’re right, marathon training will whip all areas of your life into a more disciplined machine. All that to say, I’ve been kinda…bored? in these last few months my “off season”. I’m looking at how I need to start ramping up training ’cause I’m going after that duathlon again this year! Great post!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I def knew you were like me and were motivated to do your workouts regardless of a specific goal–I can tell from your posts how innately inspired you are to do those things. I agree though, it is nice to have something to focus on when you are training–gives you that extra push. I think you’re right, that’s what it is–ridiculous discipline. It’s an awesome feeling to get into that mode where you’re locked in. It can be harder for that to happen without the goal for sure.
      Excited to read about your training for the duathlon for sure!

      Liked by 2 people

  12. I’m feeling a bit overwhelmed by my “goals” at the moment. I have two major challenges on this year – climbing the UK’s three highest mountains in the space of twenty four hours, and running a double marathon. To be honest, I don’t really feel ready for either and it’s quite a lot of pressure. I thought I had left enough time to train properly for both but 2018 hasn’t completely gone to plan. I think goals do help success but right now I am jealous of people who can work out for the joy of it alone.

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    1. I guess what I wonder is–where does that pressure come from? Is it solely from the setting of the goal? Once you set it, that pressure is on? I think it’s interesting how goals seem to mean different things to different people–you obviously take them pretty seriously. You set big ones for yourself and are disappointed if you don’t accomplish them. Do you feel like wouldn’t push yourself as hard–even if you had goals but they were smaller?
      Goals involving mountains are pretty freakin’ serious in my book!

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  13. I think I benefit from setting myself goals, and probably don’t do it enough. Setting myself the goal of completing an ultra marathon is not in itself super specific as I haven’t locked down when, where or what event, but it has succeeded in motivating me to gradually up my distances with that in mind.

    If I can start applying this to other areas of my life (such as career, general health and well-being, etc) I think that’s one more step in the right direction in the quest for fulfilment. In terms of what’s magnitude of goal-setting, I think I have a tendency to set smaller goals which is not in itself a negative thing, but I suspect gets in the way of bigger-picture aims.

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      1. Thanks Cat 🙂 It was quite the experience! Everything from the hustle and bustle of the Expo and number collection, to the race day experience, was amazing. It ran so smoothly for such a huge event, organisation and volunteers were top notch.

        Despite trying to stay away from goal setting in terms of a finish time, pleased to have snuck under 4 considering the conditions. It was officially the hottest London Marathon ever recorded (peaking at 24 degrees Celsius apparently), the run-through shower stations, frequent water stops and two fire engines hosing down were greatly appreciated!

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  14. I’m all about some goals right now! I haven’t always been that way but at this point in my life setting goals helps me define what I’m working towards and gives me an answer to the question “why am I doing this?” when things get hard. (That goes for fitness goals AND life goals, too!)

    I’m a little concerned, too, about how I’ll feel after the marathon and if I’ll need some no-goal time following it. By that point I’ll have been training for nearly a year and may want a breather! Or I may want another goal… a 50k? A faster 25k? A faster marathon? I don’t know.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I totally get that–the wanting to have an answer when you ask yourself “why am I doing this?” I guess for me i just often wonder if the goal actually answers that. I think I am one of those annoying people who then goes–“well then why the goal?”
      That’s amazing that you have been training so intensely for a year. I would definitely need a break, physically and mentally–but who knows, we are all different. Perhaps you will keep thriving on that push and need to ride the wave. I will enjoy seeing which way it goes ;).

      Liked by 2 people

  15. Great topic! Deep down I think I’m a person who needs goals even though I often try to pretend that it isn’t the case. My biggest goal this year was to regain control over my career and that’s a big tick – already I can feel it spilling over into other aspects of my life and giving me more positivity and enthusiasm. From a running perspective my goal was to complete my 3rd 2 Oceans Ultra and be a functioning human at the end of it for once. Slowest finishing time I’ve had (5:42) but goal achieved! I can neither confirm nor deny if I immediately started mentally calculating how to achieve the same level of ok-ness over the finish line but in a time 43 minutes quicker next year haha!

    Writing remains the biggest area of concern for me. Clearly need a goal to work towards but I can’t seem to work out what I want to achieve. As such days / weeks / months go by with minimal productivity. Maybe the onset of winter in Cape Town will awaken my inner storyteller!

    As for your question around achieving a goal and then setting a harder goal there’s probably still an element of that. I’d still like to get under 95 minutes for a half marathon, 3:30 for a full marathon and a sub 5-hour 2 Oceans but I’m not losing sleep over any of them. As long as I stay healthy and enjoy the time on my legs then that’s really all that matters. I will admit to wanting to take a whole 7 minutes off my PUFfeR time this year in August so I can get in under 12 hours!!

    Look forward to seeing (and reading) where your goals and feet take you this year 🙂

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    1. I am so glad to hear that the things you have done to regain control over your career are working out, and spilling over into other areas of your life. That is great!

      Writing is my biggest concern as well. No matter how much great spillover I have, I never feel like enough flows into writing. I also can’t seem to work out just what I want to achieve.

      I like your running goals–set but not losing sleep over them. I think that’s the way to be!

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  16. My main goal for running is to enjoy myself! I love that I’m running faster and racing is the best, but I never want to have to force myself to do specific workouts just to reach a goal. It’s nice to just work out because you want to! Although I do have an ambition of a 1:30 half marathon one day…

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  17. What a loaded topic! Ironic though given I recently discussed with a friend how sometimes I feel “apathetic” because I don’t set goals when I see so many others going back to school for a degree, moving to a new place, etc. but then I stop and think ok my life is good, I’m happy so does it matter?

    As far as fitness, I definitely believe in cycles. I had to set goals to get myself to my half marathon last fall and then to get through the winter series. Since then though with coaching track and being limited to how much time I can run (not to mention awful weather that just makes me hate the world), it’s impossible to set any goals other than just trying to stay in shape which is fine by me. A lot of my running buddies are constantly setting goals, training for races, etc. and I honestly think if I did that then running would lose its magic. I need it as much for a sanity saver as anything else and I think I would burn out mentally if I had to keep focusing on goal after goal. It was nice to just go run without my Garmin after my half marathon; not worrying about logging X number of miles or hitting certain times.

    I read these writers’ blogs about improving writing and sometimes I feel lazy because I literally have never set any writing goals other than a generic “write more” one. For some reason I just can’t force myself to write if I’m not feeling motivated. Running or working out I can do even if I don’t want to because I view it as a necessity to my health and overall well being. Writing, while it does offer stress relief, is more of a creative outlet for me and I just feel creativity can’t be forced. If I don’t have motivation to write then forcing myself to do is I think will just produce blah writing. I’m still on the fence though as I think about how often a run I don’t feel like doing has turned into a decent run and maybe I should force myself to write even when I don’t want to in hopes that maybe once I start the creative juices will then flow.

    I think often society (particularly social media) pressures us into thinking we’re always having to achieve stuff in life to have a life worth living. Whether it’s an advanced degree, higher position at work, fancier house, etc. there’s always this unspoken pressure that we should be “doing more with our lives”. Maybe this makes some people more happy. I’ve come to find though that as long as I’m regularly doing things I enjoy in life then I’m pretty darn happy overall.

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    1. You’re the second or third person to bring up this “cycles” idea and I think I really agree/adhere to a similar system. I can’t be GO GO GO all the time–it’s just not how I am built or how I want to live. Also, I perform better when I am on that GO mode when I’ve had the chill mode as well. Sort of like rest days–they are so necessary to performance!
      I totally get your struggle (or maybe not struggle)/feelings about how you go about writing. It can feel really anti-productive to write when you’re uninspired. It’s choppy and hard and to me feels like walking through sludge. I can’t claim to be a person who fights through this all the time–but I have. And it’s been worth it, and something has come from coming out on the other side of it for sure. I also think though that one’s goals in writing (and whatever else) really play a part in this though. If writing is just for fun–then why go through the misery of forcing it when the creativity is not there?

      Sounds like you’ve found a place where you’re really happy and enjoying the things you love–that probably doesn’t need to be messed with!

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  18. Some people mention a goal slump after completing a major physical endurance event. I read some blogs where people set another goal to be completed after finishing a marathon.

    My thing is setting goals and not quite achieving them. Buuuuuut, I do not get too upset when I do not achieve them. For example, I want to lose about 10 more pounds before my vacation to Cancun. I know that I will not, but it’s worth trying.

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  19. After running some marathons, shorter distance races have not seemed such a big deal, so I have not felt any need to set significant goals for them. I only run those shorter races for fun, and as part of my marathon preparation. That might seem like a sad mental state, but I’m okay with it. I like going into a race without goals and expectations – it frees me up to enjoy the experience more.

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    1. I totally get that Stephen—I’ve only run one marathon and it kind of left me lost. I thought ok, “bigger” than that is either run a faster marathon or run an ultra. Ultra is a NEVER for me, I’ve just absolutely got no desire, and for months now, I thought I might be one and done marathon wise too. That’s changing a little now but I think I’m more glad that the time away from such intense training has made improving at those shorter distances appealing to me again.
      I often envy people like you, who’ve run a marathon and felt like “ok, this is my thing”. It was a bit of a letdown when I didn’t feel that way but now I’m coming to grips with it!
      That’s great you are able to run the shorter stuff without expectations, I think that’s the key to enjoying all of life, lol.

      Liked by 1 person

  20. I know you asked us a whole lot of questions at the end, yet I’m still stuck on this one: Are people who routinely set specific objectives for themselves leading more triumphant and meaningful lives than those of us who don’t?

    Are goals are linked to success? What an excellent question. One I think we’d all love the answer to. Truth be told, I have no idea. But I don’t know – I don’t think so. I think it has a lot less to do with goals and a whole lot more to do with inspiration. Even if we set goals, I don’t think we’d meet them unless we’re inspired. And if we’re inspired to do something – does the goal matter? We’ll be compelled to do it anyway. Maybe the goal just helps keep us on track.

    Anywho. This just came to mind as I read over your question – so clearly a theory that still needs to be developed. 😉

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I thought of you when I wrote that sentence–it’s hilarious to me that that’s the one you picked out! We’ve sort of been having this discussion for a while, haven’t we?
      I actually feel like I am finding out a lot about how I feel about goals and the effect they have on me through all of these amazing thoughts and comments on this post. I feel like a lot of us have this idea about goals that we are setting ourselves up to be disappointed or hard on ourselves. As this discussion has gone on though, I am not really seeing that for myself. I think I can set a goal to keep me focused and to make me feel like i have something to work towards–but then I can not be so attached to meeting that goal or to the overall outcome if I “fail’ to reach it. HA! DETACHMENT, again! Look at our worlds/posts colliding, lol. For real though, i think after hearing so many people write, “maybe don’t set a goal so you won’t be hard on yourself if you don’t meet it” I’ve totally thought, “umm, no worries really, I’m not going to be hard on myself or get down if i don’t meet the goal.” I don’t think it’s goals that put me in that negative mindset–I think it’s a lot of other crap that I need to work on!

      I also think you’re spot on with the inspiration–though I am not sure I would ever set a goal if i wasn’t inspired–i think for me the inspiration comes first, and then the idea of a goal. It’s so ironic that you bring this up because I started writing this on Sunday, and then finished it on Monday. The half i wrote on Sunday was a bit wishy washy and I was going to tell everyone how goals weren’t really necessary. Then after watching and reading about everyone at Boston, i was totally INSPIRED, and decided that goals were something i wanted back in my life. lol. Crazy head here. But you get it, so that’s great. x

      Liked by 1 person

  21. Ha, I remember another Seinfeld ep where someone (Bania?) told Jerry he should work out and Jerry is just like “Why?” He was clearly not into working out. I think I always have SOME running goal in mind but I’m also flexible – like, I ran a 5K trail race this past weekend and I wanted to run it in 26, but it was a tough course so I ran it in 27:18. And I’m okay with that. So I’ll set goals but not get totally defeated if I don’t accomplish them. I think it’s fine to not have any specific ones! I bet it makes for a more freeing experience. Maybe a balance is good – set them when you want, don’t when you don’t! And don’t be hard on yourself if you come up short. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Haha–I love that you know who Bania is-now I like you even more. You’re right–he totally has a thing about people who work out–I am guessing he got bullied by the athletes when he was little!
      I think I am with you on the setting goals but not getting defeated if I don’t accomplish them. I think I am gonna set a time goal for the 10k but if I don’t reach it, I’ll just know where I’m at and am happy to try and reach for it the next time. There’s literally never any finish line–really, right?

      PS-How has your knee been? It’s your knee right? You didn’t mention it i don’t think in the last thing i read from you so I am hoping that means it’s feeling strong!

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Oh my knee has been better! It still feels a teeny bit “weird” if I walk after I’ve been sitting for long, but I feel no soreness whatsoever when I run. I think it’s on the mend – or at least, not getting any worse! Ha ha Seinfeld probably totally got bullied by the jocks.

        Liked by 2 people

  22. Hey Sis. This is a great post and great questions. I set goals related to fitness as of right now, especially since I got into the Marine Corps Marathon! This is gonna be good. I’m slowing getting to the point where I train just to have fun, but i have a competitor side lol. Hopefully I can get to your level soon

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Hey Petey! Woohoo! Marine Corps, that is SO awesome, I am so excited for you. That is definitely one that is on my “hopefully one day” list. At least now I get to live vicariously through you, I love it! Can’t wait to follow along with your training. x

      Liked by 2 people

  23. So I’m not a runner…not anymore. So my “marathon” goals include writing daily and using my blog as training ground for my book. I loved when you said: If we’re failing all the time, then holy shit we’re really putting ourselves out there and consistently giving it a shot. I am totally sharing that! I love it! Good luck and keep it up!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Hey Melinda! Those sound like good goals. Although i am not writing a book, I also try to use my blog for just daily writing and getting things out as I (hopefully) also work on other things. I hope it works well for you (and you are more consistent about your other projects than I am!).
      Thanks for stopping by–hoping you do again! x

      Liked by 1 person

  24. Yes! I had such post marathon let down that I stopped running at all. Then I tried to do 1/2 marathons and that was OK but not as good as a full marathon for some reason and I fell into a slump. Then I tried to train for a half with a bunch of friends and ended up with a stress fracture and stopped running again. Just cleaned out a closet and saw the t-shirt from that race and realized that the foot problem was 10 years ago and I’ve run one (ONE!) 5K since. It’s all such a mental game.

    Yes you need to set a time goal for your 10K that’s a little challenging and you need to probably sign up for something in the fall that you can get your teeth into. Says me from my comfy chair.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I did half marathons before I ever did the full. I think I came out of the full feeling like the half was my distance. Now that I’ve not been running anything over 8 miles for months, the half looks like a big challenge again! I think I started belittling it during marathon training cause 13 miles became a “short” run lol. I am honestly kind of glad to be back to feeling like it’s a nice challenge.
      Do you not run at all any more Dawn? Whenever you talk about it it seems more in the past, wasn’t sure if you had a more recent/ permanent injury? Are you running but just not racing?

      Lastly, I love how you didn’t mince any words about me setting a goal for the 10k. Some people have said just try and be in the best shape I can be and don’t worry about time, but I think you are right. The thing is if I “fail” i won’t beat myself up–I’ll just know I have more work to do! I like having that push. Glad to know you are behind it ;). And yes–need to figure out something for the fall for sure!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I agree a half is a good distance. No I don’t run at all anymore. 2 years ago when I turned 60 I did a 5K with most of my old running partners. It was wonderful. Maybe I could get back in shape to do that again. My stress fracture never did heal very well and I still feel it on occasion. Though that might just be an excuse. I didn’t realize till this weekend that it’s been 10 years since I seriously ran. Starting over seems overwhelming.

        Liked by 2 people

  25. My goal is to still be doing all of this when I’m 100 years old. Just the other day, I talked to a 75 year old in the pool who has run ultras, and I’m training a 75 year old for yet another Ironman. I guess my main goal is to finish each race happy, and for the long term, I want to stay active for the rest of my life. It’s always a good idea to take a break and run just for the sake of running. I often do a “no watch Wednesday” and run by feel. It’s awesome.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Girl, I am SO with you! Longevity is my goal as well! I think you probably have the right idea with all the different sports you do–keeps all those different muscles alive and well without too much wear and tear on one particular group.
      My parents are both still very active. I hope I am that way as well!
      And you’re right, running for the sake of running is quite the joy!

      Liked by 1 person

  26. I’m a believer of all things in moderation (although I don’t always adhere to it). I’m a big “goals” guy, but if that’s all I ever do, I can burn out and lose the joy of whatever it is I’m doing. I like to run in cycles. I set goals and when I do I train hard for them, but once that time is over I always take a break and “reset”. I run just to run and I don’t set schedules. I may run slow or I may run fast. I let my friends dictate everything for me.

    I look forward to seeing whatever you decide on and I sure hope mile repeats are involved. Go get em! 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Ok Randy I am not going to lie, I chuckled a little bit at your first sentence–just cause I think you are one of the more intense runners I know! I very much like your idea of cycles though–I think that is great. I think that is what I want to try for as well. I like going hard, and then going easy. I think I’ve been stuck in the middle not knowing where i’m going and that’s been difficult and bothersome to navigate!
      I am going to try mile repeats for the first time this weekend I think. I am scared! Lol, not really, I am excited. Can I walk in between them? Is that shitty? The workout I am looking at says to jog in between and i am never a huge walker, but I don’t know, for some reason, doing six miles that way sounds more achievable if I walk for a minute or two in between! What do you think, will my legs and heart still get the endurance training they need?

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Ha! I know I’m a bit extreme when I get going, so I suppose it’s moderation in how often I’m extreme. That maybe makes sense haha. Walking won’t kill you, just stay true to the rest interval times. I’m so excited for you!

        Liked by 2 people

  27. I’d love to be the type of person who doesn’t need a goal to be motivated to get out there and exercise every day. Maybe after more years of experience with regularly running, I’ll get there.

    Like you, I also realized at one point that there’s something about training for a goal that makes the other things in my life fall in line. Maybe it’s the routine it forces us into. Whether it’s with running or something else, like house projects or paying off debt, I feel energized having something to work toward. It adds life to my days. Of course, then there’s the fear that one day you look back and realize you were so preoccupied chasing a goal and some future prize all the time, that you missed your life as it passed you by.

    I don’t think you necessarily need a time goal or a speed goal in order to give yourself a challenge and focus for your 10K. Why not just focus on following a plan, pushing yourself in workouts, and showing up to the race in the best shape you can be – and letting your time be whatever it’s meant to be? You can still work hard and be proud of yourself without the unnecessary pressure of an arbitrary time goal. I think this is an approach that works well when you are getting back into race training after a lot of time off. The 10K will give you a good idea of where you’re at and then you can set time goals for another race based on that.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. My dad was always a runner and my mom a swimmer. Even when we were really young, before they would let us just play, we would have to run a mile or two or swim laps. I think mostly they were just trying to get our energy out but it really instilled this necessity of being active in all of us. I don’t feel like I can live without it. It also makes me kind of an asshole when it comes to people who are not active at all–I have a hard time understanding how someone can be comfortable in a body that doesn’t move!

      I think you’ve hit it on the head–the working towards something is energizing, it gives us life. I know what you mean about the looking back at your life and it passing you by but i kind of think that’s bullshit. It has me thinking of ANOTHER Seinfeld episode where they are looking at their lives and they are in the coffee shop and they are pondering like, “well, what is a waste or a good use of time? Is this, are we wasting ourselves sitting here?” I often think the best of life happens when we aren’t thinking about what we are doing means. When I am pondering if i am doing ok and making us of time here, I think maybe that’s when I’m really wasting!

      Your last paragraph is perfect–follow a plan, push myself, get there in the best shape I can. Especially since I’ve only got 7 weeks to go and my fitness is only so-so at the moment. I like your idea–i race like this will be a good indicator of where I am at, and perhaps I can build a goal from there.
      On the other hand, I’m having a bit of fun thinking of setting that goal now so we might just put a number on paper. We will see ;).
      I’ve missed you girl. Glad to hear from you!

      Liked by 1 person

  28. I think that setting goals is overrated, and joke by saying, “set your goals low and then exceed them.” I’m 63 and in great shape, something most of us who workout hardly ever say, as we’re always “getting there.” So perhaps I do have a goal after all, something like feeling good, staying strong, and mostly to stay mobile in my ageing years in order to continue independent travel. Nah, for me it’s more of a desired lifestyle than a goal.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I read your comment this morning Ron and it’s been in the corner of my mind all day. We never say we are in great shape, we are always “getting there”. That is really the truth. I frustrate myself sometimes because often i realize i was in GREAT shape in retrospect. There was a time about two years ago that I was lean and developing muscle and running faster, but I didn’t really appreciate where I was at–or really realize it. Now I look at pictures and remember things I could do (like pull-ups!) and I am like, “how did you not know you were in such great shape!?”
      I am thinking I need to stay in the present–perhaps that is the lesson here!
      I know i am younger than you but your goal is my goal as well–I really want to stay strong and mobile as I age. I have a brother who doesn’t workout or take care of himself. One time he said to me, “what’s the point? I don’t necessarily want to live longer, so why would I do things now to prolong my life?” My response was: “I don’t take care of myself SO i live a long time, i do it IN CASE I do.” I don’t want to be older and on a million meds and not able to get around. No thanks!
      So glad you stopped by Ron. Please come back and contribute again, love having you!

      Liked by 1 person

  29. I think you win the prize for loving running and fitness as an end in itself – that’s my goal!! After the marathon, I felt a bit flat and initially thought it was the lack of something to work towards but I actually think it’s more to do with the routine and structure being taken away. What I really loved and got so much out of was marathon training. The marathon was great and everything but it was almost a separate thing to the training. So I am going to run another marathon (really?!?!? Did I agree to this?!?!?) but mostly to give me back a training schedule with my (now) beloved long runs.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Gill, I SO get this! I think I always have that desire to keep up my overall fitness–you;re right, i do actually like it. BUT, I totally get the missing that structure and routine. When I was done with the marathon, I set another routine, but I couldn’t help but feel like it didn’t matter too much if i followed it–it wasn’t the end of the world. It’s weird, cause I mean, that’s good, right? I am such a Type A, I need a break from thinking the world is gonna end if I miss a workout! But idk, there is something great about the feeling that you are working towards something. I think without the race, I start focusing a little too much on my body and outward appearance. Cause it’s like, I am struggling to measure my progress, you know?
      I also agree that the training is the best part of the marathon! I mean when I finally got across that damn finish line, it was awesome. But the training–it changed my life. It changed me. It was really a big life thing. I feel like you may feel similarly? Following along with your journey, def felt like a big life shift happened for you as well!
      Happy to hear from you Gill, missed you! x

      Liked by 1 person

  30. I think it’s great you can still train without a specific goal! That you can embrace it as training for life. I joke with my friends that I’m training for the zombie apocalypse 😁.

    I tend to book up events as my goal. To complete them is the aim. I fluctuate between doing them strong or just doing them, depending on how my training/injuries are going 😂.

    I’m pushing the endurance limits lately, as you know, and uping the distance and days. I’m currently considering a 6 day event next year 😏.

    I try to embrace training for life rather than specific goals regarding speed etc. But I love the events and sense of achievement/medals 😂. I guess I use them as a way to see how I’m progressing, but I know I’ll never be a contender 😉.

    Keep on the way you are chick, doing it for love, health and happiness. I Will always want to read about your journey xx

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Girl if the zombies come, I am hopping on your back for sure! You’re strong enough to carry me right? It’s just like one of your obstacle courses I reckon ;).
      So for you, events are your norm–goals are a constant? But such a constant that they can fluctuate according to what is going on in your life–you don’t get too attached? That seems really healthy to me–and you’re always thinking you are not ;).

      You’ll never be a “contender”? I don’t know what the hell that means my love! Especially coming from you–you’re ALWAYS a contender. You’re going at life with vigor and passion–what more do you need to qualify?

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Haha jump on chick and we’ll get the hell out of Dodge! I did start learn g Archery last year too so we’re covered on all bases 😉.

        I have backed out of events due to injury or illness, I hate doing it but occasionally I have to make a sensible choice 😂.

        I suppose in my head being a contender has always meant being up there, in the top quarter or on the podium. I have come close a couple of times, but my attention fluctuates too much to dedicate enough to one thing to get that good. Thanks for saying that though chick, it made me think about how I should change my view on myself 😉 x

        Liked by 2 people

  31. I don’t set goals for myself particularly. I mean, I train for my marathons, but I have to be enjoying the training, too – if I didn’t enjoy it, I would release myself from the goal. I am certainly not motivated by a medal and tshirt and “proof” that I ran a marathon, as evidenced by my effort at the weekend, which was definitely done so as not to waste my training … but then it turned out my actual “goal” was to get my friend Sam round the marathon she’d missed!

    I don’t tend to set goals in the rest of my life. I had a lot of years being told very forcefully that I never came up to scratch. So I tend to under-promise then over-achieve, if that makes sense. I have goals in my business to make sure I make x amount of money per year and will adjust what I take on / my marketing to achieve that, but not to the expense of the rest of my life.

    But I have a set of circumstances which are a bit odd. I know I’d still run long runs every few weeks even if I didn’t have a mara to do, but I don’t know many people who will do that.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I think that’s probably the key right–if we don’t enjoy it, then what’s the point? I think I am with you that I really do enjoy the process of the training–it gives a sense a purpose that I think radiates over to other aspects of my life. It’s all great fun. I think now I’ve just go to realize that a marathon is not the only thing I can train for. It was just such a huge goal–it’s been a challenge to shift my focus AND keep the focus, if that makes any sense.

      It’s interesting reading about you not setting goals in the rest of your life. I am not sure I do either. I have a much easier time setting physical goals than i do work or intellectual goals. Sometimes i wish that I could do something physical for work–like for my living. It seems to be the only place I consistently have drive.

      You’re not so crazy that you’d run long without a mara to train for. You know I’ve been anti long slow run for a bit now. But with traveling, I’ve now done two runs outside with my hubs (not long, like 6 miles). It reminded me of our long weekend runs together and def made me miss them. The appeal is still there to go the distance!

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  32. I hear ya!!! Post marathon I set myself a goal of faster half marathon and 10Ks but honestly I lost my mojo and ended up not even trying or running much at all, I guess subconsciously I thought those were pointless goals after a MARATHON! I mean there was a time last year where a half marathon was a short run for me! I’m only just starting to enjoy running again but I don’t feel ready to put pressure of goals on myself but the struggle is…I do feel like I need motivation and discipline – the marathon changed me, I was never a goal chaser but now I need one!!!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Yeah, I think the “goals are pointless” after marathon has been a bit of my problem as well. Nothing seems as “big” or important. Trying to change my mindset on that!
      It’s crazy right when we start to run really long, all of the sudden we sort of belittle or don’t think as much of these long distances. I think I have had enough of a break now that i am back to thinking the half is tough! I am sort of glad to be back there. It’s cool that the running journey is varied you know, it’s not just over once you’ve accomplished one thing.

      I am so glad to be back blogging–and i’d say one of the reasons is you! So glad to have your energy back in my life again! Can’t wait to see what goal you decide on next ;).

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Aww Cat that so lovely of you to say, I’m glad you are back blogging because I love reading your posts!!
        Yeah I really need to stop belittling the half it is TOUGH, I’m definitely struggling with it right now!
        Time to back to the grind and get goal digging 😉

        Liked by 2 people

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