Organic Runner Mom

Running. “You Must be Willing to Adjust Your Expectations.”

Ready to run the NYC Marathon

Ready to run the NYC Marathon

Running. Expectations.

I just read a post from Michelle The Runner, “Monday Motivation: Adjusting Expectations” that totally had me thinking. In the post she tells about their travels to Iceland (which sounds like an incredible trip of a lifetime) where she has her heart set on running a particular trail called “Fire and Ice.” Upon chatting with a local she discovers that the trail is closed.

Michelle says,

“then find another dream.” And with that, the three of us burst out laughing. What a simple solution to such a simple problem. She went to explain, in Iceland, things change very quickly from good to bad, and you must be willing to adjust your expectations.

This is some of the best advice I have ever heard! As humans it is natural the tendency towards feeling disappointment when a plan falls through or when  you have dreaming about like a big goal doesn’t happen. This advice is helpful in life and as it applies to running. With a big race, The New York City Marathon coming up this weekend of course I have had big goals in mind from the time I committed to running and training with Team Clarke for the Clarke Schools for Hearing and Speech (There is still time to donate!). I have a hard time running a race just for fun. I like to try to be competitive and when I have a goal in mind it can be hard to let go of it. But in the marathon as in life plans can change quickly. The marathon training cycle lasting 4-5 months can be long, injury, illness and life events can happen which can override initial goals.

Last winter I set a goal for myself to break 3:30 in the marathon. My previous PR was a 3:33 and change and my goal seemed well within reach. On marathon Monday at the Boston Marathon however my A goal quickly went out the window. I was lucky to squeak out a qualifier at the race for this spring. I was disappointed that my race hadn’t gone differently because I had spent so many months training to break 3:30 and it seemed so close in my grasp yet so far. This time goal I have set myself is still in my mind and I was hoping that the NYC Marathon this year would be my time to go for it. IT is not looking likely as I have been sick for the past week and a half. The doctor at the minute clinic said that unfortunately the cough associated with this cold is lasting for 2-6 weeks. Ugh! Not ideal when breathing well is a key part of running.

I could sit here and wallow in the fact that I may not have the best run but instead I am choosing to follow the advice learned by Michelle Runs, “You must be willing to adjust your expectations!”


I choose to be positive and will plan to have my best run for the day. This race will still be an incredible experience no matter what and if I have a surprisingly good run than that will just be an added bonus. With that pressure and weight lifted off of my shoulders I am ready to move forward to race weekend in New York City with my family and excited to soak up all of the sites and the sounds as I run through the five boroughs and finish my first New York City Marathon. Not everyone gets this chance. I need to be positive and have the expectation that this will be an incredible experience.

If you give yourself the permission to be able to adjust your expectations than you will not be disappointed! Thank you Michelle for opening my eyes to this!

Organic Runner Mom


10 responses

10 responses

  1. It’s rough to let go of a time goal, but I love your positive attitude! The experience of the race is important, especially with a race as big as NYCM. I’m so excited for you and to see how you do, because I know no matter what that you will have a great race!
    Laura @ This Runner’s Recipes recently posted…October Goals Check InMy Profile

  2. It’s so important to leave the door open to adjusting your expectations. I did that for my 3rd Chicago Marathon. I had a goal to BQ. But as the race approached, I knew I didn’t train as well as I had hoped. And at mile 14, that BQ wasn’t happening. So I decided to have fun and finish strong. I didn’t want to quit, but I let go of that goal and I actually did really well! No BQ but it was a race I was proud of. Great post.
    Wendy@Taking the Long Way Home recently posted…The Color Runs…My Profile

  3. Oh this is so true for every aspect of life and especially running a big race. As usual, it sounds like you have your head on straight and will be successful, no matter your finish time. I had to adjust my goals around mile 18 of NYC last year and, although brutally painful, I did not rob myself of the joy of running this amazing race. Please enjoy every step as you are doing something great just by running it! Good luck my friend. I will be cheering you ON! xoxoxo
    Allie recently posted…My Favorite Mental Preparation Trick for Race DayMy Profile

  4. I definitely agree that expectations make a huge difference to how we approach our goals and how much we enjoy them. When I trained for my first marathon, I was determined to qualify for Boston. While I reached my goal, my training was less enjoyable. When I began training for Boston, my only expectation was to enjoy the race, which made training so much more fun and stress-free. This isn’t to say that having high expectations and goals is bad, but that they can hamper the joy of running when they become too intense.
    Diana Fitts recently posted…Garmin Forerunner 235 Review: Running WatchesMy Profile

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