Lesson Learned: One More Block

#reverb10 seems to be all about the lessons you’ve learned over the past year and how you can apply them towards 2011. So today’s prompt (Lesson Learned: What was the best thing you learned about yourself this past year? And how will you apply that lesson going forward?) feels a bit repetitive. But perhaps that’s the point: by asking us the same questions in 31 different ways, maybe true enlightenment is around the corner. (At the very least, I’m building good blogging habits.)

I’ve learned a ton of lessons this year, from cooking and glazing windows to calculating the price elasticity of demand. I learned how to take better care of myself. I learned how to run. I learned to embrace the rain rather than cower from it (to a point. I still won’t run in a downpour).

Mostly, though, I’ve learned to push myself harder. Not to the point of futility and frustration, but to the point where I can do better. By constantly raising the bar and pushing myself a bit, I force myself to stretch, which leads to growth.

It’s one thing to stay in your comfort zone, to know that you can accomplish something and keep doing it. It’s a completely different thing to push yourself just slightly beyond what you think you’re capable of doing and then celebrate when you reach it.

That’s one reason I run so many races: having a goal on my calendar pushes me to train regularly and work to get faster. I constantly set goals, and I like checking in periodically to remind myself to push towards them.

In fact, when I ordered my RoadID, I knew exactly what to put as the “motivational” line of text after my emergency contact info: One More Block.

During every run, I look at those three words and push myself one more block, and then another, and then another. Every extra block I go before the turnaround translates into two blocks. Those extra blocks add up to extra miles.

So over the next few weeks, I’ll be setting some aggressive 2011 goals to push myself to go just one more block. And hopefully a year from now, I’ll be thrilled with how those extra blocks added up to achievement.

This post is part of #Reverb10, a month-long project to reflect on the year nearly gone. Read all my #Reverb10 posts, or learn more.

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5 responses to “Lesson Learned: One More Block

  1. I don’t know if you already do this, but a friend of mine gave me a great piece of advice when it comes to reaching any kind of fitness goals: Record every workout, whether it be running miles or doing pull-ups.

    Then, before your next workout, check your records and know exactly what you did list time. So when you feel like quitting, but you realize you ran a half mile further last time, you know you’ve got at least that much more in you.

    He said not doing so was the biggest workout mistake he’s made, and I completely agree for myself as well. I’ve made progress at a much faster rate simply by knowing what I already did and using at as a baseline to do a little bit more the next time.

    • Great advice! I started tracking everything about 18 months ago (6 months after I started working out) and it helps so much! When I feel like I’m not making progress, I just look back at those old logs and am amazed at how far I’ve come. I use DailyMile.com to track running (and to keep myself accountable, since seeing my friends’ progress is motivating), spreadsheets to track lifting, and a system of blank calendar pages to track my overall fitness efforts. I aim for at least four days a week, so when weeks are looking blank, it’s a good reminder to go do something!

  2. I love that mantra – “one more block.” That about sums it up perfectly. On cold days like this, you need it. When I got to my turnaround for today’s run, it felt like victory – the backside of a run may be slower sometimes, but you’ve got the goal in sight! And I love your hardcore data tracking on all your workouts – awesome!

    • Oh, I needed “one more block” today, which was tough on trails where there are no blocks! But you’re right – the “backside” always feels easier (if slower) because the hard part is done. And plus, you’re committed and just have to get home.

      Does the hardcore data tracking surprise you? It’s the “nerd” in #runnerd! 🙂

  3. Pingback: Trying to Do | The Adventures of Elginista

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