By Randy Pierce
I choose to run a fair number of races and often I want to measure myself against the clock. So often we are tempted to compare our time against those we admire, our friends, or some other vastly arbitrary standard. I believe we should be comparing ourselves against our own prior performances and perhaps goals based on those results. Sometimes we might want to see if we are faster or slower than a previous run. Hopefully we are respectful of the many factors which impact the time of our run. As someone who often speaks about reaching for and achieving our peak potential, it might suggest seeking a PR (Personal Record) at every opportunity but this simply isn’t the case.
Not only does the course, the crowd, the temperature play an immediate role but so does our goal! Have we needed to prioritize other aspects of our lives over proper training for speed for that race? Did we simply want to run for enjoyment and relaxation at that particular time? Perhaps that is always our goal in a run? One of my favorite quotes comes from a friend and coach for many, Dave Salvas. He advised a friend conscientious of time and proud of running for the experience to answer those questioning others who might over focus on time: “I had the time of my life.” How succinctly he cut to the point of understanding what it is really about.
I find similar wisdom outside of races. We have a certain amount of time and choices in how we allocate this time. For me, if insufficiently attentive, I can find myself claiming to be short on time when in truth I am simply allocating too much of it to things which do not deserve it. Certainly I need and value moments of relaxed down time; understanding what is truly the most relaxing and ensuring it receives the higher priority over things that are simply time traps for me is the key. If there are projects that require a lot of my time and yet my efficiency at working with them is enhanced by staggering breaks, I simply set manual timers to break me from them at what I’ve learned is the right time to give me a rejuvenation break.
I try to ensure those breaks are of the right quality I would choose by being mindful and then return to the project. In this I rarely run out of time, though I am certainly guilty of over-scheduling my time…at times! I think in this, my 52nd year (as opposed to 50-second year), it has been suggested to me I appreciate a fairly active pace for my life. There is no right or wrong as long as I follow Dave’s wisdom and ensure that I am having the time of my life on the path!