Your potential is limited only by how many excuses you have.*
Sometimes we just feel like staying in bed, especially when we can see a good excuse for it. Last week (January 15 to 21, the 16th week until marathon day) was a miserably cold and snowy one for Vancouver. Granted, it was nothing like the feet upon feet of snow with wind chills of -30 that I remember from my Ottawa days. However, for the usually balmy west coast, this past week was one where most would just rather stay inside. And in fact, I heard the excuse many times over, that no, I couldn’t do my workout because it was too cold or too snowy. That said, I also know many who did get out – kudos to you.
I am the queen of excuses. Or at least, I used to be. But last week I was determined not to make one single excuse, and while I did need to do one of my runs on the treadmill so my husband wouldn’t worry about me falling on the ice (which has happened multiple times in the past so he did have a valid reason to worry), I completed each run on my schedule despite the cold and snow. Except one. On Monday afternoon I grew increasingly fatigued, hungry, dizzy and felt completely not myself. At the end of the workday I didn’t even have the energy to walk to the bus so my husband picked me up. I did not run that evening.
What constitutes the difference between an excuse and a valid reason? It may be a fine line. For example, in my first week of this training plan I was fighting a cold and was in the worst of it when I was supposed to go out for my 25km run. I struggled, and I mean struggled, through that run. Should I have lowered my mileage because I was sick? Not gone out at all? Would that have been an excuse or a valid reason? I allowed myself to go slower than usual and take walking breaks for gels. That was my compromise.
I think the difference between an excuse and a valid reason is intuitive. You know if you’re making an excuse or if the reason you’re giving is justifiable. But even valid reasons must be examined. There is likely something we can do to ensure even they do not get in the way. My extreme fatigue I suffered that Monday afternoon was likely due to my neglect to feed myself properly for recovery the day before, after 3 hours of working out. I also responded to my fatigue and dizziness that Monday afternoon with more poor nutrition (and yes, I totally know better than that). So I was right not to do a speed workout that Monday night, I had a valid reason. But I was also very likely responsible for putting myself in that position. Lesson learned.
We all have such great potential. Learning to get ourselves there, well, that means getting rid of the excuses.
*quote from Toastmasters International