Monday, January 16, 2012

Like It's Your Job

A job worth doing is a job worth doing well.

Last night I read a blog post that got me thinking a lot about what training is for me.  I'm not an elite runner.  I don't get paid to do this.  I'm not anywhere near being an olympic qualifier. I'm no longer running and racing for a college team.  It isn't my job.  But I find myself training like its my job sometimes.  I find myself getting so wrapped up in my training and goals and it becomes so important to me that I can lose sight of the big goal ahead when things get hard. Like so many others, I get discouraged when I hit roadblocks like injury, lags in energy, and just forgetting WHY I'm doing all of this.  After all, running isn't my job. Or is it? 

What's a Job Anyway?  
I suppose the traditional definition of a job would be something that we get paid to do. A regular form of employment.  Something we do as a way to provide for our lifestyle or part of our regular living.  We get something from it in return for our work.  Some of us love our job and some of us hate it.  Some have a job because they want a job and some have a job because they need it to live.  No matter what, those of us that are successful in life, take our jobs pretty seriously.  We commit to it.  And the people that are good at their job, do it with a great attitude and work ethic.  They bring their "A" game to what they do.  These are the kind of people that go far with their jobs.  The kind of people that go FAR with LIFE! The kind of people that make something with what they have.  

Getting past the roadblocks.
I have to admit that I've been feeling slightly discouraged about my training the past few days. My abdominal strain has been a road block in this long marathon road and it has been several weeks now where I just haven't felt the "groove". My body just isn't moving like it should. I've felt lost with my training and desperately wishing that I had a coach to just do the "thinking work" for me and help me get to the end. The end result of all this training seems so far away and I've found myself making deals with myself to just settle for getting to Boston instead of truly training for a personal record or anything out of my comfort zone.  I've wanted to "play it safe" and stop taking things so seriously. And I've found myself with a head full of self doubt and negatively tainted perceptions. Most of all, I've been questioning all the time and energy I put into this training.  Reading, logging, researching, strength work, diligence with nutrition, and so much more.  Hours and hours of mental and physical work.  Although most days, my training is fun and I feel positively driven and focused on the goal at hand, I've recently been asking myself "Why?".  Why am I doing all of this?  It isn't my JOB!  I'm not getting paid to do all of this. And what is the point anyway? 

Perhaps it is my job.  Or I should think of it as such.
After reading Meg's Suck It Up and Get It Done rant last night, I woke up realizing that, right now, Training is my job!  If it is worth doing (which it is) then it is worth doing well and treating it like it is my job. Not my main job by any means.  In fact, not even in the top of my priorities.  But still a job of sorts. A job I enjoy. I may not be an Olympic qualifier or a labeled "elite" runner.  I may not be breaking any records or winning many races.  But when I do train like it is my job...with enthusiasm, hard work, dedication, a positive attitude, a proactive approach...I DO GET PAID!  When I bring my "A" game to my training in the same way that I have always brought to anything that I do...undergraduate and graduate school, teaching, being a mother, friendships, high school and college track and cross country...I am paid in SUCCESS.  My Success.  Feelings of accomplishment and pride.  Seeing how far that I have come.  

We all train for different reasons.  In a sense, training does become a job if we take it seriously.  And it should. It doesn't matter if you're a 10 minute per mile pace or a 6 min per mile pace.  What matters is that you are training hard and "working" to be the best that you can be.  If a goal matters to you and If you really want to achieve greatness and conquer your goals, You HAVE to treat your training like its a job.  It doesn't have to be a full-time job or one of those jobs that we dread.  Hopefully it will be a JOYFUL job most of the time.  A job we look forward to putting time into.  A job that we benefit from.  A job we are fortunate enough to have!  And a job that PAYS in more ways than one.  

So, I'm choosing to shake off this discouragement that I've been feeling lately.  I'm choosing to think of it as just another bump in the road.  And I'm choosing to take my training and healing its my JOB (second to motherhood of course)!  As with all the jobs I have had in life, I will choose to give my "A" game, not settle for what just "gets me there", and strive to be extraordinary.  My extraordinary.  I will be my own best self.  And look how I will get paid to do it:

  • Energy and feelings of accomplishment
  • A happy disposition that benefits my family
  • A great body and health
  • Modeling a goal driven life for my children
  • Brooks sponsorship 
  • The joy and satisfaction that comes from reaching a personal goal or knowing that I pushed myself hard
  • Great SLEEP from pushing my body
  • Endorphins=happy pills
  • Inspiration
So, Let's DO THIS!  Anything worth doing, is worth doing well, right? Like it's your job. A Joyful job that you love. A job worth getting up for. 

I'm adding this comment after this post was published.  Thank you Annette@(Running) in the Right Direction!  You seem to get exactly what I'm saying:

"I love the post. I took that you meant job as something that you care a lot about, put effort into...take time with. It takes work. Work=job. The only thing is so many equate the word job something you HAVE to do..and don't particulary WANT to do. I like your theories...doing a job you love! Isn't that what we are all searching for? Now if we could all be the elite, get all those perks you wrote AND get paid...that would be ideal!!!!"

 How do you get PAID to train hard and work towards your goals?  



  1. My payment for my "job" is just that feeling of accomplishment - especially when I am running with an injury. I had the same thoughts on my run this morning - (had to walk the last two miles back to the car to itb issues!) I kept telling myself to be smart and it will pay off!

  2. Wonderful post!! I could not agree more with everything you pointed out. Anything we do in life is worth doing 100%. It is passion and love and that pays much more than any reward ever could.

    Thanks for sharing.

  3. Clapping over here-awesome, awesome post!!! Success, when you really think about it has really nothing to do with getting paid in a traditional sense.

    Enjoy the ride.

  4. I read Meg's post too!
    I never think of running as my job, it really is my reward. And not bc training hard brings me success - there really are no guarantees, anything can happen when you train hard (injury, a bad day, etc) but because training hard does wonders for me mentally and physically. It makes me more efficient in my life. Of course, things can get a little tricky bc running is really not top 3 on my life priority list, and I need to keep this in perspective to ensure that I don;t tip the scale too much. Honestly, I rarely if ever dread a workout. I just love to get out there and test myself. Now that I am taking things easy, running is a bit boring, but hopefully soon I will be back at it like I like it.

    Your training is going really well. Maybe try to get out of your head for a bit and just do the plan rather than overanalyze, focus on one run at the time, with the goal of doing the best you can in each workout. Running is really simple, one foot in front of the other. Everything else...little details:)

  5. I don't think of running in general as my job but I DO think of training as a job in a sense... the kind of job that I love to do. Not as a job as in a chore or in something I HAVE to do but in something I want to work hard at. And I do it to experience success...I don't "run" for success all the time. Running will always be a part of my life. Training for something won't. I run because I love to is a reward in itself. But I train hard because I want to experience success. Even if it means just experiencing a sense of accomplishment and feeling "efficient" in my day to day life...this IS success to me. Success is all relative. It doesn't have to mean breaking a record or winning a race. I train like it is a job that I love...I want to do it with dedication and love and joy. And if I do this, then it won't feel like a chore or something I dread but something that brings my life richness/wealth. When it isn't enjoyable anymore and I'm not having fun with it, then it is time to reevaluate my goals and why I'm doing it. And just go back to running just to run and not to train. For now, I'm doing it because it makes me feel good to be pushing myself to be all areas. :) So, yes, training is sort of a job (in the good sense) for me right now. But certainly not in my top 3 as far as life priority list. That would be Family, God, Friends. Running just makes these things better. And hopefully Training for Boston does too! :)

  6. Excellent post. I believe that anything worth doing is worth doing with all of your effort. I am SO inspired to get back into training and running and getting my baby-fat ass back into shape after March... I just can't wait.

    Keep up the good work and I can't wait to cheer you on (and MEET YOU) in April in Boston. :)

  7. My payment for my "non" working job, which is running and training is the feeling of success after each race, or watching a client hit a goal. That is my payment.

  8. b who u b. but have fun doing it. whatever you want to call it job, intense hobby or utter pre-occupation with moving one foot in fron of the other. have fun doing it.

    i run every day, yet, so many other things are sooo mcun more important to me. yet, running does help make those other more important things - more enjoyable and fun.

  9. Interesting post. I am going to reread and think about this one. There is a lot of information to digest. Well done.

    btw - I have moved to wordpress; if you are bored and looking for boring reading material.

  10. Yes, SO many things that are WAY more important than Running/Training. Training hard for something like it is a job is joyful for me....just as being a mother and a teacher are. Even when I worked at a sandwich shop in college...this was joyful to me...I made it joyful. Running for leisure and training for something are different for me....When I say train like it is a job...I hold to the philosophy that one should love what they do (that is preferable) and I do AND this "train like it is a job" idea helps give ME focus to my training and set it apart from just running to run. :)

  11. I read this! I will be back to comment tonight! Very well written!

  12. There was a ton in here, to be sure, but one thing really struck me. Where you were talking about wishing you had a coach...if that's a temporary feeling, fine. If it's a more regular thing, get a coach! You have a lot going on, you have a lot of knowledge to be sure, but from what I've heard, it can be incredibly freeing to turn it over to someone you trust and say "tell me what to do". Then all you have to do is your assignment, rather than obsess over what the assignment should be. Just a thought.

  13. I'm still trying to justify the time and effort I put into running. And every time I register for a race, I question the cost! I own that same book in the picture - but I haven't read it yet. I guess I need to think about it like I do my job and I'd do better!

  14. Gracie, you're doing a pretty amazing job just doing what you're doing! I only decided to see it is a "job" because this is what makes sense for me since I've always found joy and satisfaction in my jobs....motherhood, teaching, being a student. A sense of satisfaction. Makes me better when I think of it that way. :)

  15. I love the post. I took that you meant job as something that you care a lot about, put effort into...take time with. It takes work. Work=job. The only thing is so many equate the word job something you HAVE to do..and don't particulary WANT to do. I like your theories...doing a job you love! Isn't that what we are all searching for? Now if we could all be the elite, get all those perks you wrote AND get paid...that would be ideal!!!!

  16. Go, Amanda!!!! Getting in the groove and playing with your 'A' exciting to read this and watch you manifest it :)

  17. Yes Annette!! Thank you! You totally get what I'm saying!! :)

  18. Amanda once again you've given us so much to think about and I love it.

    "...I will choose to give my "A" game, not settle for what just "gets me there", and strive to be extraordinary. My extraordinary. I will be my own best self." - that really resonated with me!

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  20. I think that any runner that sets goals and works really hard for them treats running as a "job" of sorts. I know I do. I feel like running is my second job -- but it's a job I look forward to. A job I can't wait to do when I finish my 9-5 job every day. I don't ever want to "just finish" a race. I want to do my absolute best and I want to train as best as I can. Not everyone goes into a race feeling that way, and some people just run for run, no goals involved besides finishing and that's fantastic! Running serves a different purpose for everyone. I can relate to your post because I don't just run for fun, although running can be tons of fun. I run to push myself beyond my comfort zones. I run to get faster. I run to get stronger. I run to be better. All of this takes a lot of WORK and it's not always "fun" per se, but so damn rewarding.

  21. and to answer your question -- my payment is confidence, fitness, strength, and achievement. :)

  22. You summed up so much of what I've been feeling too... just the last year I've gotten more excited about racing and taking running seriously, as opposed to going on a run for fun several times a week. Then I catch myself wondering, if I will never be willing races, why push myself? Thanks for putting it all into words-- it does pay off in all of these ways and more! Hope you find your motivation again soon!

  23. I love this post, it's hard to give it your all with everything else in life but why do it if you aren't going to give it your best?

    I was at a conference once and the speaker said if you won the lottery and would quit your job than you are in the wrong profession. I took it to heart slightly changed my profession (formal teacher to informal conservation ed) and know that I would do my current job for free. I don't get paid to run but that's no reason not to treat it likes it's my job.

  24. Right on!!
    I truly feel the important, meaningful jobs in our life are the small ones that define purpose... and those are jobs that quite don't get paid for! These jobs make us "who we women!!" They build character, determination, teach us compassion and empathy, give us release and satisfaction...but most importantly, enhance every characteristic within us that make us successful in all other areas of life...even the ones "that we must get paid for!"
    Thanks for the inspiration!!

  25. Good on you for choosing to be positive. Sometimes it's tough when you feel like you just don't know the right thing to do. And I love the bit about it being our job - the pay-off that we get at the end.

    Thanks for the comment on my blog. It's so wonderful to get so much support when you need it most. I might be a little discouraged today but tomorrow I'm going to choose to be positive that I'll find the answer. I just have to keep looking.

  26. Back here! First of all as I mentioned earlier, I thought this was really well written! "I will be my own best self" I really love that line....My payment for training for a goal comes in so many ways I guess. I'm much more efficient when I'm training for something, EVERYTHING runs smoother, I'm generally a happier person. This is NOT to say I don't have those days....or those 8 consecutive days-ha ha! There are surely ups and downs in training and I, like most everyone have them but it rarely affects whether I lace up my shoes and go out the door. I do treat training somewhat like a job that I enjoy!! I get paid somewhat by a goal race finish time yes, like a bonus to my daily paycheck for my efforts but I do truly feel like I'm paid every day in little ways when I look through the right lens(sometimes that lens is smudged and I have to clean it off)....Babbling. I get your gist here!

  27. Well said!! My husband sometimes jokes that running is a full-time job to me. He is exaggerating but I know I do treat it like a job. A job that I love. When you are in the thick of training and working towards a goal there will inevitably be a little self doubt. Just keep going! That's when you just have to trust the process and know that the result will be worth it all.

  28. Great post! I love your writing! It is so hard when you hit those road blocks and your mental and physical are not on the same page.

    I have been missing my JOB and can't wait to get back to work.

  29. Great post! You continue to inspire...thank you :)