Revisiting Process vs. Progress

In an earlier post, I had discussed the difference between being satisfied with the process (i.e., what you are doing) and being satisfied with progress (i.e., what you have accomplished). Basically, a good process is more important, to me, than good progress. I think good progress is an outcome of a good process.

I say that with experience of floundering and then having big gains from nowhere. And I say that today seeing no real gains the past couple of months.

Like anyone else, a lack of success makes me think about what I’m doing. It makes me question if I’ve been making good decisions. It makes me wonder if I need to revise my process.

And ultimately the answer is no*

The asterisk is to indicate that the process is good, but there is the qualification that I need to follow the process better. And that’s what we’ll talk about.

My ideal process is to run 2 to 3 times a week, eat better than I have been, and in general just try to take better care of myself overall.

Now I haven’t been outright failing. Unfortunately, I have markers in the 5K times. They’re not really apples to apples comparisons beyond distance, but they are still being tracked. That first 5K was too fast. It was a flat course and I pushed harder in that one than any other (it’s the only one I thought I might throw up after). The next two had hills and I didn’t push quite as hard, so I lost over a minute.

So what do I do?

Well, try not to panic. I need to trust the process and stay committed to the process.

I haven’t been a beacon of healthy living the last couple of months. Since the first 5K, I know I haven’t run 3 times in a week. I haven’t run twice in most of the weeks. My zombie app should have been done late January, mid February at the latest. It’s now mid March and I’m still about 3 weeks of workouts from being done, which means I’m probably closer to two months from being done.

And now we try to refocus on the process. The weather is improving and the days are getting longer, so those are two things that should aid me being able to have more flexibility in my running schedule. That and I haven’t completely flailed in my runs. The top-3 finishes in my age groups are so completely misleading that it’s funny, but I’m still doing alright. I’m hovering around a 10-minute mile. That’s about where I ought to be. If I can manage to cut my walking down a good chunk, I’ll be in great shape.

So yeah, here we are. We’re one-fourth of the way through the Super Awesome Year of the 5K. I have lots of odd little stories to tell from the races. And I’ve got lots of random crap that I don’t need but I’m going to keep anyway. It’s been a good year so far.




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