Recently, I have been struggling to accept that I can't control everything, especially with the uncertainty that continues to flourish. I’m not afraid to say it, but I am a control freak. Therefore, I like to be in control of everything that is happening in my life, but this is rarely ever actually possible. It can also be very dangerous and suffocating, like when you decide to control your food intake (but I’ve learnt not to do this!). I am also a planner and I hate it when plans get changed, but this can happen quite frequently. Therefore, with the arrival of such uncertainty, I have had to focus on the things I can control and stop worrying about the things I can’t. When life throws us uncertainty, we have to be strong minded and control only the constructive things. Use your energy to control the positive controllables.
Direct your thoughts.
It can be very easy to sit and dwell on what we can’t do at the moment. It is very well wishing we could use the gym or go on our usual track, but this isn’t going to help, because we can’t change the current situation. Every time I find myself thinking about such things, I only get annoyed and frustrated, therefore what is the point in doing it? As a result, I work hard to focus my thoughts on the things I can control, and the factors relating to my training that I can influence. These can be how well I recover, ticking off my training each day, fuelling sufficiently, and giving my all in sessions. By focusing on those things I can influence, all of a sudden the situation doesn’t seem so daunting!
Be in the present.
This is another thing I struggle to do. I am very much a forward thinker, and as I said, a planner. I am not very good at going with the flow and being in the present moment. I think this comes with being an athlete a lot of the time, because we are always planning our training towards an event or goal that is in the future. However, with the inability to make any plans I have had to teach myself to be in the present moment. I have found by doing this, I have been worrying a lot less. I can’t control what happens in a week’s time, but I can control what I do now that may influence the future. Therefore, each day, I wake up and think only about the training session imminently ahead of me. The rest of the week’s training doesn’t matter for now. This has helped my mind from wondering too far ahead. I need to be grateful for the time I have now to focus on running and all the other little things instead of stressing about what lies ahead of me.
Something I am proud to say I have been doing a lot less, is comparing myself to others. Earlier in the year I found myself having to delete Instagram on a regular basis, as seeing so much of other athletes lives was affecting my mentality. However, since lockdown, I have found I am a lot more relaxed and content within myself. I think this may be due to the temporary release of pressure with no races in sight (now I can’t wait to race!), as well as the fact everyone is in exact same situation. Focusing on what other people are doing and how they are performing is definitely something that is uncontrollable. We can’t control how well they run, but we can control how we do ourselves. Getting frustrated and consumed by comparison definitely doesn’t aid progression, well it doesn’t for me anyway, so we need to focus on ourselves, not others.
In the end, it is ok not to be in control of everything, in fact it is only normal and is a good thing. There needs to be some element of surprise to life. So, control the controllable and stop worrying about things you can’t do anything about.
I love to run and I love to write, so I write about running!