Better Than the Alternative Tuesdays: Next Time

Happy Tuesday, friends! So many of you ran in Chicago, Baltimore and on Staten Island this weekend and the Fall racing season has only just begun!

So many races coming up!

So many races coming up!

The runners I’ve coached officially start their races this weekend. At this point, I’m just the person who talks everyone off the I-can’t-do-this edge. That’s my job.

But what if they really can’t do it?

Training for months, making travel plans, missing out on weekend events and parties just to get to the BIG DAY and NOT run? That’s frustrating.

And what is everyone going to tell you?

“There’s always next time.”

Ummm, yeah. Not what you want to say.

Ummm, yeah. Not what you want to hear right then.

It’s hard not to want to punch someone in the face who tells you, in your darkest moment, “You’ll get ’em next time.”

Really, cuz I didn’t train for next time, I trained for THIS TIME.

I feel you, guys. But here’s the reality of the situation:

  • You’re too injured to run.
  • Your body just can’t take it this cycle.
  • The race is cancelled.
  • The hurricane is NOT changing course.
  • You’re pregnant.
  • There’s no way you could have predicted XXX crisis/emergency.

So, yeah. There’s next time.

images

Next time you’ll train smarter.

Next time you’ll choose a different time of year.

Next time you’ll know better than to try and do a marathon during finals/end of quarter/holiday season.

Next time you’ll hire a coach.

You know. Cuz it helps.

You know. Cuz it helps.

Next time you’ll cross train.

Next time you’ll see a PT when something STARTS hurting, not after 3 months.

Next time you won’t fall to pieces halfway through.

Count yourselves lucky that there will be a next time. For some runners, they’re not sure they’ll get to run this time, forget about next time.

Not to put too fine a point on it, but those of us who have been here wondered if there would ever be another next time.

Not to put too fine a point on it, but those of us who have been here wondered if there would ever be another next time.

So put on your big girl/big boy pants and figure out what you can do next time to make it better than this time. You can do it. I know you will do it next time.

And having a next time is way Better Than the Alternative, isn’t it?

Now go out and run.

Better Than the Alternative Tuesdays: Not Racing

Happy Tuesday and welcome to Taper Town, NYC Marathoners! Now that you’ve made it through the vast majority of your long training runs, that 26.2 behemoth is looking much more do-able, isn’t it?

(Image courtesy of RunnersConnect.com)

(Image courtesy of RunnersConnect.com)

You beast.

Congratulations to all of you.

But there are the other runners out there now, aren’t there? The ones who trained, ran far, worked hard, set their sites for the start line and now have to DNS for some reason or another.

That sucks.

Surgery instead of Marine Corps Marathon last Fall. Womp, womp.

Surgery instead of Marine Corps Marathon last Fall. Womp, womp.

There’s no way around it, not racing when you’ve trained your heart out sucks. I’m sorry.

But, as someone who has both trained for the full and only run the half AND had to DNS another marathon in the past, I wonder if I can’t encourage you to look at it in a different way.

Yes, it’s hard to accept that you won’t toe the line at your race. Yes, it’s frustrating to send in your deferral paperwork. Yes, it’s depressing to tell your friends (the ones you bragged to all through training) that you’re not running.

But then there’s the other side.

Just because you’re not racing doesn’t mean you’re not in awesome shape.

Just because you’re not racing NOW doesn’t mean you won’t race EVER.

Just because you’re not racing doesn’t mean you can’t go and cheer your friends who are still racing.

Cheering at marathons is SUPER FUN!

Cheering at marathons is SUPER FUN!

Just because you’re not racing this race doesn’t mean you can’t look for another one in a few weeks or months.

Just because you’re not racing doesn’t mean it was all worth nothing. It was a goal you set out to achieve. You pushed your mind and your body to the edges of physical sanity–and found out it’s kinda fun.

Running a mile uphill was fun...sort of.

Running a mile uphill was fun…sort of.

Allow yourself the time to grieve over your loss. It’s ok. But then look forward. What do you need to do to achieve your goal next time? Get a coach? Get a better coach? Start training earlier? Strength train in the off season? Not get pregnant mid-season (can’t tell you how many lady runner friends I have in this position :))?

Onward, friends. Onward.

If you are a life-long runner, not racing here and there is going to be something that happens again. It’s life. But it also teaches you that there’s another opportunity in the future for you to tackle.

And isn’t that way Better Than the Alternative?

Yup.

Now go out and run!