I’m not a big golfer, but have you ever visited the PGA website? I did today and found that Tiger Woods has the lowest average score for 18 holes of golf at 68.654 shots per 18.
Why do I care? I don’t feel like running today, that’s why.
But I know that Tiger Woods has had a tendency to do the little things with his golf game. Whatever you think of the man’s personal life, he has a reputation for being the first one at the golf course and one of the last to leave.
Lately, I vacillate between feeling great and feeling absolutely awful when I run. It had been going well. Over the first seven weeks of more intense training I’ve felt my natural pace pick up. My skin is tighter. I’m tired more often, but with a runner’s high. It’s generally been a good feeling…..well, it was, until just this last week. Suddenly I’m tired all the time and the marathons I’m training for seem a hell of a long way off. I’ve entered the dog days of training.
I try to remember that Tiger Woods has to play every week and I only have two events I’m working toward. I’m training for two marathons (but who’s counting?). I’m going to pace my sister through her first marathon ever in Washington D.C. near the end of October and then I’m tackling the White Rock Marathon in Dallas in December to try and score my best time. These are big goals and I don’t want to let myself down.
The thinker in me (my wife doesn’t believe it exists, but deep behind awesome NASCAR trivia facts is an actual working brain….trust me) knows that these are the important days. This is when the race is really won or lost. Like Tiger Woods and his long career of success, I’ll only beat my goals if I keep working hard on these days. If I plan to be successful at both of my events, the little runs are going to be the difference between flying the whole 26.2 miles or cramping at mile 18 (trust me, that’s where it hurts). But in northeast Texas what’s even more evident and front in center in my lizard brain is this: it’s damned hot and humid.….and I’m tired…and I’m taking my kids to college and….whine….whine….whine…..
So I’m at the PGA leaderboard, and do you know what the difference is between Tiger Woods and the 63rd best golfer? Two strokes. I can’t believe it. Over 18 holes, the guy in 63rd place (named Pat Perez), has only taken two more shots each round than the guy in first. I think every non-golfer knows Tiger Woods, but I’ll bet only the hardcore crowd knows Mr. Perez…and there’s only a tiny difference in results between them. Pat Perez is incredibly close to being a household name and he’s 63rd in the world. Why isn’t he? Sure, there may be a talent difference, but I also think that Tiger’s work ethic has something to do with it.
I know you’ve felt this way in your job before. I certainly have. It’s easy sometimes to coast….especially in these last couple of weeks before Labor Day. Nobody seems to be paying attention to the bottom line. Everyone’s feeling the last days of summer. We all want just a little more play and we don’t want to work hard….yet.
Unfortunately, you and I know that productivity isn’t a light switch. You can’t just flip on the “I’m ready” button whenever you wish. Tiger has struggled in big events this year even though he’s the scoring leader. On my end, I know ahead of time that I won’t be able to say on October 1st, “Okay, go run 18 miles hard now.” You and I already know that when I come out of this funk, and I will come out of this funk, it’ll be important that my work ethic has remained intact.
My mantra this morning: two shots between 1st and 63rd. That should help me keep a brisk pace!
It’s a delicate balance, I think. I have a tendency to try to be overproductive and start cramming productivity into every minute of every day. I also get lazy and off pace and start coasting sometimes. My work life is bipolar!
Mine is, too, though I work very hard to stay consistent. I’ve found that when I train myself to be consistent, I get consistent results. When I go through boom/bust cycles, the biggest problem is that when I “bust,” there’s usually a bunch of “boom” work that I’ve created…..not good.
Very much agreed that productivity is not a light switch. You need to be very consistent in any job to get those good results. Yeah we often tend to get into those lazy modes which hampers our productivity.
Thanks, Rita! That’s exactly why I have to keep the goal front and center. 😉
By the way, I just finished the run. I’m feeling awesome that I did it…..
I feel like I’m trying to juggle too much sometimes.. So my trick lately has been to get up at 5am and work. I’m able to get a blog post (at minimum) done, then I can get on with my day without feeling guilty when I head to happy hour after work.
Happy hour = networking! It’s business time! See? I can justify a party at any point….
Perez! That’s a crazy stat. Winner take all mentality it seems and no wonder why it’s easier to give up.
I think I’m burnt already, which is why in going on vacation again for the third time in two months for a couple weeks. So tired. Like trying to test how little I can do and still get by. U get that?
I’m surprised you’re burnt out, Sam. What is it that created that state?
I love testing the idea of seeing how little you can do. That sounds like a fantastic experiment. Think about those “little days”: having to make sure your nap lasts two hours!
Mrs PoP @ PlantingOurPennies
Little days matter, but I think for my sanity rest also matters. A lot of runners don’t schedule enough rest days into their training. They often get injured and the body forces them to rest.
Sure, rest matters. But on this particular day I have a workout that’s part of a long term plan. I’m using the Hanson’s marathon plan because different than Uncle Higdon, it stresses different types of activities and there are far less reports of getting injured.
So, a great plan is first, and then making sure to follow the plan even during the lull periods where you aren’t motivated is #2.
Nick @ ayoungpro.com
One of my favorite things to consider is this: what am I doing that is different from what others are doing? What am I doing to set myself apart? If you want to be near the top of anything, you have to do things differently than the masses. This post speaks to me and it is a good reminder that though the effort may not always be fun, the results usually are!
Excellent point, Nick! A study in FastCompany showed that companies that spend more time planning “what” they’re going to do and less time just “ready, fire, aim!” actually get further ahead with much less effort. I think that’s why a great plan is important before you even get to those “little days.” In my plan I’m using the Hanson’s method for training. It’s been proven to produce faster marathons and people using it get injured less often. That’s my differentiation!
DC @ Young Adult Money
Like Holly, I also try to be productive with almost every minute of every day, and it can cause some things to suffer (relationships, health, etc.). Then I hit burnout and it’s not pretty. I definitely need to make sure to balance productivity with relaxation (or dare I even say, coasting at times?).
There certainly has to be breaks, but those should be scheduled if you have big goals. If you want huge results, you have to expect huge activity to get there.
There was a great piece in the Harvard Business Review a few years ago about managing your energy, not your time. The basic premise followed much of what you’re saying, DC: treat yourself like an athlete with a long season, realizing that you’ll need some down time and that you can’t be up for every event. However, you should look ahead to those key moments and make sure your little days always feed your productivity during those times.
Done by Forty
I like the idea of pushing through the inevitable lulls, and the temptation to ease up. Success is a habit.
Budget & the Beach
I love this! I have SO many days where I just do not want to push myself. And I don’t know if it’s better or worse to have a specific goal. I don’t have a specific goal except to “stay in shape,” so it might be easier to make excuses. But luckily Im surrounded by really fit people so that keeps me motivated. In the same way I guess that reading PF blogs keeps me motivated to try and stay on track financially.
Funny, that’s generally “me too.” I only sign up for these marathons to make sure that I keep my butt on the road. However, once I sign up, I get this sense of purpose that I didn’t have a day earlier…..
I also agree with the PF blogs, Tonya! Reading these all day has made me more mindful of many parts of my financial health that I rarely paid attention to before.
Edward - Entry Level Dilemma
I guess I’m fortunate that I don’t aspire to any kind of greatness, but simple middle-of-the-road mediocrity. 🙂
Ha! Perfect! Little days are then meant to be enjoyed. 😉
Pauline @ MakeMoneyYourWay
I know you haven’t done it in 200+ days but how did you use to get back on the horse? I am running 4x15min with 1 min break easily now but have been sick as hell for the past week or so, so I don’t know what the next workout should be, easy 5min intervals or just pick up where you left?
Sorry, Pauline, I was taking Nick to college and missed this! I would just go back in the program to the point where you’re most comfortable. I always remind myself that I’m not training for the Olympics…I’m trying to have continuous fitness. If I’m not excited about going out, what’s the point….
Pauline @ MakeMoneyYourWay
I just started again yesterday, before seeing that and went for the last workout I did, cardio was no problem but today my legs are sore!