Jan 26

Run Like a Girl: Focus on the Process

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Whether you’re training to run your first 5k or tenth 50-miler, this motivational post urges you to focus on the process. Let’s do this together!
Run Like a Girl: Focus on the Process | cookincanuck.com #runwithdara #running #fitness #exercise
Photo credit: Marathonfoto.com

As the next part of my Run Like a Girl challenge (I’m so excited to have so many of you along on the journey), I am beyond thrilled to introduce you to Cindy BeMent of the inspirational fitness blog, Kicking It In. She posts some pretty awesome healthy recipes, too. Cindy is not only an inspirational coach who helped me tremendously through my own process of training for my first marathon, and kick-butt runner in her own right (that is her running in the photo above), but she is a good friend.

Her words here ring so true for our journeys, whether you’re training for your first 5k or your tenth 50-miler. Be sure to pop over to read her fantastic post, Don’t Look Around, Look Within: Six Tips for Motivation That Moves You. It’s a must-read for anyone who is setting goals for themselves in running or everyday life.

For more fantastic information on running and recipes to keep you fueled, be sure to follow Cindy on her blog, Kicking It In, and on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest.

Take it away, Cindy…

Last week, I had the incredible privilege of watching 150 of the best middle school-age singers in Indiana come together as the Indiana State Middle School Honor Choir, where they rehearsed and performed at the Embassy Theater in Fort Wayne as part of the Indiana Music Education Association’s annual conference. My daughter sang soprano in that choir.

Basically, a young director, hand-selected by the IMEA committee, had less than 48 hours to take 150 13-14 year-olds, get them to work together, trust him, give their best and commit to putting on the show of their lives to-date. Piece of cake!

As I sat watching and listening, inspired by their lovely voices, uplifting songs and the hilarious, bombastic and highly effective director mentioned above, I was struck by one thing he said at the very beginning.

“This choir will never be together again. This is the only time,” he said, captivating his choir as it sat cross-legged and all-ears on the hotel ballroom floor where they rehearsed.

He proceeded to tell his singers they were the best of the best of the best, and that they should focus on getting the most out of that two-day experience, focus on the process of becoming a performing honor choir – because it would be something they’d never forget their entire lives.

Focus on the process.


They did just that, and even though I’m biased, I can say I’ve never heard a youth choir sound that good. Ever. I cried during the show.

Moved. Inspired. Proud. Motivated.

My brain was lit aflame – focusing on the process is something I strive to do in running, too. It’s something I constantly tell the runners I coach to do, as well. And I mean it.

When you’re making a running/healthy living routine into your lifestyle, we all know consistency is key and that having goals is the name of the game. Get a goal, make it public, be accountable, make it happen.

Run Like a Girl: Focus on the Process | cookincanuck.com #runwithdara #running #fitness #exercise
“It’s kind of fun to do the impossible.”

That’s fantastic, and anyone who does the above is taking huge steps toward making it happen and crushing that goal or goals.

But what about the actions you take to get there? Are they the best they can be, and do you fully understand why you’re doing them and their connection to you?

If you’re too fixed on finishing that 5K or getting back to a prior level of fitness, once you get there, you’ll be looking around and hearing crickets. Goal bagged. Gosh, I’m here. Now what?

So today, I’m challenging you to focus on your efforts right now, instead of on the place to which you aspire to get, in your running.

I’m also giving you an assignment: over the next week, I’d like you to examine your running process, in all of its parts – sleep, nutrition, running itself, stretching, motivation, time management, self-respect, etc – and choose three things you think you do best in pushing yourself forward toward your goal(s). Figure out and write down, with specific descriptions, why you’re the best at these three things.

Next, I’d like you to identify one area on which you feel you need work in your training process. Just one. As above, it doesn’t have to be physical – “I need to fix my running stride,” rather, I’d like you to find a part of your approach that needs work, ie “I need to get better about planning ahead for my workout time” or “I always give up when it gets hard.”

Last step: can you take any of your process strengths and use them to shore up the ‘one area?’ How?

Let’s discuss. I’m doing it, too.

If we focus on the process – the goals will take care of themselves.

Run Like a Girl Posts | cookincanuck.com #running #runwithdara #fitness #exercise
How I Started, 2 Blocks at a Time
The Benefit of Running with Others

Hope your weekend is going well and run like a girl!

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{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Karla @ Run, Karla, Run! January 26, 2014 at 8:37 am

Cindy, this is a great idea: use your strengths to improve your weakness. My big problem is putting off workouts until late in the day, because I’m so busy. Then I’m either too tired to workout or tired during my workout. But I’m great at motivating myself while I run. So if I can focus that energy to motivate myself to run earlier in the day, the problem will be solved!


2 Dara (Cookin' Canuck) January 26, 2014 at 9:34 am

Karla, I think you and I need to swap “problems”. I’m great at getting up early in the morning, but not always so great at motivating myself to push harder during the run. As Cindy suggests, I’m focusing on the process to change that.


3 Cindy @ Kicking it In January 26, 2014 at 9:51 am

Ladies, I arrive with the third spoke for your two issues: I don’t give myself enough credit for what I do after I’ve done it.

I can crawl out of bed at 3 a.m. if I’m traveling or have a huge workout on a busy day, I can hit the workout reasonably well, but then as the things I do day in and day out meld together, I don’t draw from them like I could. I’m getting better, but this is the key focus for me in 2014. I am GREAT at toughing things out while they are happening because I direct my thoughts toward things I’ve prepared ahead of time to help me get through tough spots. So, if I can direct my thoughts toward giving credit where it’s due when I need to do it, I will be that much more effective as a runner.


4 Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar January 26, 2014 at 10:27 am

I can’t tell you how much I’m enjoying this series. So much good stuff here :)


5 Trish @infinebalance January 26, 2014 at 5:51 pm

This is great advice. I completely hit then “what do I do now” wall after I finished my last half marathon. Without a reason to run, I just stopped running. So now I’m at the beginning.. just making plans to get myself out of bed in the morning to get a workout in. That’s what I need to work on… planning and following through with my workouts.

Love this series — I look forward to the post each week!


6 Cindy @ Kicking it In January 27, 2014 at 6:04 am

Trish – isn’t it crazy, how we can go from greatness to ‘ghost town’ so quickly? I think there’s much value in focusing on your less-glitzy, everyday process of training, as that will give you the confidence to make and chase those big goals when it’s time and the calm that comes with knowing you WILL do the work, even without a race on the calendar.


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