I’ve always tried to be an optimistic person. An optimistic runner. It wasn’t until this last training cycle where I understood I wasn’t optimistic at all.

I have fallen for the trap of doing more volume to make up for speed.

I have fallen for the trap of chickening out in a workout because I wasn’t ready.

I have used the treadmill to make sure I stayed on pace when I knew I couldn’t hit it on my own.

I counted myself out, I didn’t trust myself, I didn’t trust my running.


I was doing too much, overthinking what each workout meant, not trusting the process.

This segment, I vowed to be different.

I cut out anything that wasn’t absolutely necessary.

I do the bare minimum of strength, balance and core to activate my muscles without tiring them.

I spend time off my feet. I walk instead of bike.

I sleep as much as I can.

I let go of the mindset I had. I let go of volume, trading it for speed.

I told myself the only way I’d keep up with my teammates was to sleep extra, eat extra and rest extra.

Sure, some days I overdo it, but I try really hard not to.

I wasn’t optimistic about running before this, I made up for a lack of speed with more training. Silly training or junk miles if you will. I told myself, well, if you can’t hit that workout, at least you can still run long.

That just wasn’t satisfying anymore. I felt like I was on the edge of burnout and injury all the time.

My mindset before a workout would be more along the lines of “I might be able to do this…but if not…” already talking myself out of it. Consoling myself prematurely. Tending to the wounds that might happen if I failed.

That is not optimism. That’s damage control.

This week, today, I feel true optimism.

I am a month out from my peak marathon. Only one month!

I honestly didn’t think I’d make it here. After Buffalo, I thought I was headed toward burnout and on a fast bus to overtraining.

I gave myself one last chance. I had a team. I gave myself grace.

Give up whatever I think I should be or should want.

Run because I love it. Because it’s fun. Because I have a chance to do something for our team.

This week I found out how to truly be an optimistic runner, and damn, this feels great.

Ellie Pell