One of the greatest thrills in running is achieving a goal.
Whether it is completing your first marathon, running under 20 minutes for 5K or breaking 4 minutes for the mile. Achieving a goal is one of the greatest feelings in the world.
I can still remember the first time I ran under 1 minute and 50 seconds for 800 metres.
I set the goal, made my plan and went after it.
It didn’t happen in my first 5 races in North America.
It didn’t happen in my first race in Belgium.
But in my second race in Europe it eventually happened!
I remember going over to the results and seeing my name. I ran my finger across my page to the right and read 1:49.80. I clapped once really hard!
All my work, effort, struggle and pain ended up being worth it.
This year I have made a new, more challenging goal for myself: 1 mile under 4 minutes. So far I find myself struggling. My training indicates good things, but my races are not coming together.
I’ve found myself asking a question: if after all my hard work I don’t end up running sub-4, then would the journey be in vain?
This morning I had to remind myself of the old African proverb:
The journey is the destination.
We all want to arrive at our destination and enjoy the reward that is waiting at the finish line. The reality, however, is that we won’t be able to achieve our goal every time.
If you remain fixated solely on the end, you’re going to miss out on so many wonderful moments along the way.
Instead of focusing just on the finish line, try to enjoy the day-to-day process. Enjoy your long run on Sunday and enjoy the big brunch you have afterwards. Enjoy your tempo workout tonight and enjoy the ice bath that is waiting for you afterwards. Enjoy your 6 am morning run as you run through the trails and enjoy the time you spend with your old friend.
Enjoy the journey.
Michael Del Monte is an accomplished middle-distance runner who runs for the newly formed Athletics Toronto club. With a Master’s degree in Theology in hand, Michael resides in High Park, Toronto, where he is training and working towards his PhD in the philosophy of religion. Whether through writing, music, photography or film, he is always challenging himself and creating new projects.