In a recent Coach’s Corner, I wrote about the relationship between a growth mindset and goal setting. I ended with this call to action: My challenge to you this month: Consider how mindset plays a role in your journey – as a parent, professional, athlete, or as a human.

Of course, this mindset is paramount to my success as a runner. That said, success depends on my ability to self-assess with honesty and a willingness to learn from that information. You might think this is easy for me to say when I speak in generalities. Therefore, in the interest of full disclosure, I am sharing a slice of my ADMIT-ASSESS-ADAPT process with the following entry:

ADMIT: In mid-July, I shared my strength training routine. Enter September; I have broken my word. With that post, I made a promise to stick to the schedule and change it up every three weeks. Since August my success rate has plummeted. Honestly, I haven’t lifted a weight or done a crunch since the end of July.

Consistency is essential to marathon preparedness. Strength is also key to running a marathon. More importantly, a regular strength training routine is key to sustaining the demands of speed work and mileage. Logical. Sure.

Why do I find it so difficult to stick to this part of my training?

ASSESS: Let’s look at the variables. I am running six days per week, one of those days is already a double session. The mental and physical demands are significant, and I implement all of my runs and the prescribed paces with fidelity. My routine also includes assisting muscular recovery with stretching and rolling that can add another 30 mins per session to my stacked fitness obligations. With less than nine weeks to the NYC Marathon, mileage and intensity are ramping up. Durability is critical. What can I ask of myself that is reasonable, manageable, AND sustainable?

REALITY– Dawn, you are not a professional runner. You have work and a family. There are only so many hours in a day.

ME– I am not a professional runner. Still, there are plenty of successful master’s level female runners who are also mothers and working full-time jobs. My goal is to be in PR shape for NYC on November 3rd.

REALITY– So, what are you going to do about it? You know what it takes. How bad do you want it?

ME (donning my coach’s cap)- How would I support a client to incorporate such a change?

ADAPT: Let’s play that back with some active listening.

COACH– Let me make sure I’ve got this right. You are dedicated to running and your goal of a PR. Time and intensity are increasing at this point in your training. Therefore, your body is already in a cycle of stress-recover-adapt. Spending time with your family is essential, as is your work. Still, you recognize the risk of running at this level without some element of strength training in your routine. Do I hear you correctly?

ME– Yes. Logically, I know what to do. It is time to come up with a plan that is in line with where I stand today.

COACH– What you need is to build momentum. You need to start with short term benchmarks that are reasonable and achievable THIS WEEK. Success with these milestones will create positive momentum and buy-in that will allow you to build, as needed, going forward. No more thinking about what once was or what is “ideal.” You need to focus on making progress through synthesis. Grow as you go. What will you commit to TODAY?

Here is what I came up with this week:

From a baseline of zero, I will increase my strength training to include a MINIMUM of the following for the next two weeks: 20 mins immediately after a 6-7 mile run at easy pace (2x/wk).

As many rounds as possible: 15 reps each for 15 minutes (+5 minute bonus round of continuous core work 15 reps of varied exercises)

WORKOUT #1 (15 for 15)
Rear Foot Elevated Split Squat
Side Plank hold with Lateral Leg Raises
Plank hold with Shoulder Touches
(+5 mins. cont. core work)

 WORKOUT #2 (15 for 15)
Lateral Lunges
Single-Leg Bridges
Single Leg Dead Lift with OH reach & transition to Single Leg Calf Raise
Superman Progression (15 upper body/15 lower body/15 full body)
(+5 mins. cont. core work)

It is humble, yet it is progress. This week I am 2/2 and already considering adding a third short circuit to another day’s work. That is the power of realistic self-assessment and momentum. It is this coach walking the talk: ADMIT-ASSESS-ADAPT.

We all struggle and fail at times. It is this cycle that stimulates growth and guides us to make positive changes.

Are you reaching for a goal?
Can you reconcile where you are today with the effort required in your ambition?

I share my journey regularly on Reaching to Run. I encourage you to share thoughts, experiences, and feedback in the comments.