Later that morning I started thinking about that comment and being in training for a half marathon and was just kind of "whatever - it's just a half marathon" about it...but hold on a second; last time I checked a half marathon was 13.1 miles. That is absolutely no joke. That's pretty far if you stop and think about it. So I realized right then and there that even though I was semi-chastising my sister for not taking the training seriously, I wasn't giving the distance the respect it deserved either. Then I realized that I'm not giving a lot of aspects the respect they deserve.
RESPECT...The Distance: Even if it is a mile, or a marathon, or something in between you have to respect the distance. Chances are no matter what it is, it is further than a majority of people would plan on running just for "fun". And especially once you start getting up into the higher distances, you most definitely have to respect the distance. I know not everyone will get this reference, but if I left Disneyland traveling down the 5 freeway I would run all the way to IRVINE in 13.1 miles. I would travel through Orange and Santa Ana and Tustin - basically through three cities. If you were running 13.1 miles on a track it would take you FIFTY-TWO times around the track...and then just a little bit more to get that point one. Think about how mentally grueling it would be to travel around a track that many times. You ready to jump on out there yet? No???? hahaha Me Neither!!! You have to respect the distance.
Respect...The Training: You use a training plan for a reason, right? It is designed to gradually build your endurance so that when race day comes you are semi-prepared. If you don't respect the training and only half-ass it you are going to either feel like you half-assed it come race day or your time is going to prove you half-assed it, or it could be a combination of both. My experience is that it is usually the last option there. You feel it and your time proves it. When you are planning on either running a longer distance or going for a time goal, you have to put a training plan in place that will get you there, but that isn't enough. No, you have to then respect the training and actually get it done consistently.
Respect...The Fuel: My biggest problem is that I never respect the fuel. I run long and I run hard so I then "treat" myself to junk. I don't respect the fact that I'm fueling a body and instead I pour in the cheapest ethanol that is available and then I wonder why I am bogged down and sluggish and falling apart. It's because I didn't respect the fuel and give myself healthy carbs and fats and loads of protein to rebuild strong muscles.
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Respect...The Active Recovery: You get in a training groove and are doing great and then you hit your "active recovery week" where you are supposed to step off just a little bit and allow your body to gear back up for the next several weeks of hard training. But if you're anything like me you then use that as an excuse to mellow waaaayyyyyy out and just totally slack off. Or if you're like most running or fitness bloggers it seems you just ignore active recovery and keep pushing through at the same pace because slacking off is for lazy people. Right? Well, you have to respect the active recovery because if you don't, eventually something is going to have to give and most likely that is going to be your body in one way or another. So respect the active recovery.
Respect...Your Abilities RIGHT NOW: Yes, we all want to improve in anything that we are training for which is why we do it, but you have to respect where you are at right in that moment. If you don't, it is quite possible that you will be setting yourself up with unrealistic expectations that you could never attain or that you might kill yourself trying for! I would love to run an under 2:30 half marathon and I would absolutely love to run a marathon in 4-5 hours. But the reality is that I'm not there...yet. I have to respect where I am at and work within those confines. Will I ever finish a half under 2:30? I don't know. All I can do is keep pushing my limits and see how much I can stretch beyond. But I can't train for a 2:30 half when my body is at a 2:40 half. So as much as I want it, and will continue to push to achieve, I have to respect what I am capable of in the here and now.
So you see, and it really isn't all that different than other goals you might be trying to achieve, you can't get there if you don't first respect the different things that go into it. In my case (and my sister's too - I hope you're listening! hahaha) you have to respect the distance, your training, the fuel, your active recovery, and where you are at right now. If you're doing that then you are most likely setting yourself up for success!!