Learning to Trust the Process

If you receive Women’s Running (and you should!), check out page 8 of the magazine! I’m beyond excited to share the ads that I got to be a part of in February! There will be another ad or two in the coming months and the two 3-minute videos from the photo shoot should be released soon!

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#Trusttheprocess has been one of my favorite hashtags to use on Instagram and twitter the last few months.

I honestly don’t remember where I first heard or saw this phrase, but it struck a chord and has become one of the mantras I repeat to myself when things are tough or I’m questioning why I’m going to do a workout.

Trusting the process.

But what is the process?

The process is the training. The recovery. The racing. The (seemingly) little things. The doing.

It’s a process to get where you want to go. It won’t happen overnight so sometimes the best thing you can do is just chip away a little bit at a time. Sub-3:10 has been a big goal of mine for years. I stopped trying to do it all at once (because it wasn’t working) and started focusing on just training hard and letting paces, times and everything else fall into place when they are ready. I’ve chipped away the last two marathons and am hopeful that I’ve set myself up to achieve this goal in two weeks.

It’s about staying consistent.
Working hard.
Following your training plan (slowing down on the easy days, taking days off when you need to).
Aiming high but only reaching for what’s within your grasp.
Keeping your head down and working hard but occasionally looking up to enjoy the view as you are climbing your way up.
Staying the course even when you get bumped back a few steps.
Trying to be just a little bit better than you were yesterday.

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For a long time, I felt like each run or race had to be perfect – I felt like I had to prove something each time I ran. I was trying to force things and paces to happen.

It’s daunting and overwhelming to constantly feel like you have to be running certain paces. Two years ago everything felt forced – from tempos, to long runs to even easy days. I would have gone out for a 10 mile tempo and felt like I “had to” hit a certain average pace. If my coach gave me a pace, I would have obsessed over that number for 10 miles, and tried to make each mile be at or below that pace.

This has been one of the biggest adjustments I’ve made to training. There’s no average pace in bold font in my mind. Each mile doesn’t need to be a certain pace. This new approach allows me to go out easier. Who cares if I never make it within the goal range my coach gives me? Start easy and settle in and see if things pick up. If they do, great. If they don’t, I can be satisfied knowing the effort was there.

And the same on race day. You can DEFINITELY have time goals but still approach the race this way. You better believe I have some ambitious goals for Boston. I know roughly (and scarily!) what those finish times equate to in mile splits. But I have no plan of intentionally trying to hit those paces for each mile. Trusting the process has taught me to my ability. My training. And most especially, myself. And if it’s a good racing day, the paces will work themselves out and I’ll be at or close to the times my coach and I think are feasible.

#trusttheprocess

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    17 thoughts on “Learning to Trust the Process

    1. Pingback: This is it: Half Marathon Training Final Week – Sarah Chasing Life

    2. LOVE this post and message. Even though I’m not training hard for a goal race now, I still feel that pressure of wanting my run to feel a certain way or be in a certain pace range. It can be so frustrating to not have that happen. Sometimes the process is just finding the joy. When we are at peace and relaxed is when we run our best. Has been so fun to watch all your amazing accomplishments this past month. Trusting the process has paid off for you!!! xoxo

    3. Pingback: Trust the Process: Goals Check in for March 2016

    4. This is what I have to focus on for my goal race in a few weeks! Goal races before this involved aiming for splits that were too slow for where I thought I was. It might be the opposite now, so I’m aiming to just see how things fall, allow myself to be uncomfortable and hope for the best! It’s scary!!

    5. This post reflects so much on how I’ve grown this year to view my training as well, in part because it’s been so inspiring to see other (and more talented) runners like you thrive and enjoy training and racing. Effort matters so much more than pace, especially because so many factors – terrain, wind, sleep, etc – can affect pace. I love your advice here – thank you so much, Michele! Good luck as you finish training for Boston and happy running!
      Laura @ This Runner’s Recipes recently posted..A Runner’s Love Hate Relationship with Strength TrainingMy Profile

    6. Thank you for this post! I’m already a fan of your blog and writing but this one was definitely one of my favorites. And well timed; as I’ve been struggling with my feelings of inadequacy. Trust is a hard thing…especially in oneself. And learning when to keep your head down verses when to look up can be a challenge in the great balance of life. Thanks for your beautiful words!!!
      Jess @ run pink recently posted..TBRT Ed. #3 All About Dat Pace My Profile

    7. “Aiming high but only reaching for what’s within your grasp.” WELL SAID. When it comes to the marathon, being ambitious is a good thing, but being realistic is a must. There’s no fake it till you make it during the 26.2 journey. You need to know where you stand at and respect the distance. You got this, Michele! April 18 will be a great day for you.

    8. I find that if I try to run faster, my breathing goes out of control. I find it hard to breathe and hard to catch a breath. How can I control my breathing?

    9. Usually when I try to go faster, I find I get out of breath..and then it becomes a struggle to just try to breathe. Then I feel I can’t seem to catch my breath? and then it all goes downhill from there.
      Any advice?

    10. Thank you for this post!! I have been struggling with this so much lately. My next half is 4/24 and I found myself focusing SO hard on paces during training runs that I stopped wanting to run. Totally lost my mojo. Then I finally told myself to just go out and do the miles without pace in mind…and guess what, running got fun again. I don’t know what this means yet for my goals in the upcoming race, but I know I’m at a place where I want to train well, without the stress and burnout caused by my constant Garmin-checking.
      Kelly @ The Well-Read Redhead recently posted..A 500th Post GIVEAWAY! :)My Profile

    11. Such great advice. It is so easy to get sucked into constantly watching splits and not learning to run by feel and effort. It is important to do the work and to be able to find a place where it all feels good and the attitude is right.
      Sandra Laflamme recently posted..Tips for running in the windMy Profile

    12. This post resonates so much with me right now! This summer, I’m going to be focusing on marathon training and I know there will definitely be runs where I can’t hit certain intervals. I’m going to need to put a lot of trust in my body like you said and just know that if I put in the work, I’ll hit my racing goals!

      • So true! Somewhere in this training session running became a job with targets, KPIs and deliverables instead of a joy. That’s gotta change!