title pic shit sandwiches for running goals

How Eating Shit Sandwiches Can Help You Crush Your Running Goals

How committed are you? To live your dream life, have your dream relationship, and the running goals you want to achieve?

If you constantly think about running goals you’d like to achieve but find yourself giving up before reaching them; you are unwilling to make the sacrifices required to attain them.

You are not willing to handle the downsides that come with your goals. You are not willing to embrace all aspects that achieving your desires entails.

You are not ready to eat the shit sandwich that comes with every worthwhile goal in life.

What Is A Shit Sandwich, And Why Should You Learn To Eat It?

I came across the idea of the shit-sandwich first when I read Elizabeth Gilbert’s book “Big Magic.”

In the book, she describes the story of a writer friend who, like her, wanted nothing more than to be a successful author. Like her, he didn’t get paid for his creative pursuits. He complained that he didn’t want to “write for nothing.”

Eventually, he became so frustrated that he gave up on writing. He wasn’t willing to endure the rejections; the hours spent writing without any apparent reward.

He wasn’t ready to eat the shit sandwich that comes with being a writer.

On the other hand, Liz Gilbert did embrace the struggles that come with being an aspiring writer, as did many others.

She saw the difficulties as part of the work and created anyway.

That is the basic idea behind the shit-sandwich. Every work you engage in, every project you are passionate about, comes with its own set of challenges.

Liz Gilbert came across the idea through Mark Manson’s blog and writes in her book: “So the question is not so much ‘What are you passionate about?’ The question is, ‘What are you passionate enough about that you can endure the most disagreeable aspects of the work?’ ” 

If you want to be a writer, you need to handle rejection, having your work criticized, and possibly rude comments on your articles from strangers on the internet.

And if you want to be a runner who not only runs now and then but goes after and achieves big, hairy, audacious running goals?

Then you need to be willing to eat the shit sandwiches that include, but are not limited to:

  • getting up early on a Sunday so that running doesn’t interfere with family time, and you can spend the rest of your Sunday with your loved ones
  • adjusting your nutrition and lifestyle to support your running goals 
  • spending time and money to participate in races

There Is A Special Shit Sandwich For Everyone

Maybe the flavor of your shit sandwich will be different than for anyone else. In fact, it is likely. We don’t all have the same likes and dislikes, life circumstances, and health histories.

For example, for me getting up at 04:00 am is not hard because I have always been a morning person. And I love to run in the very early morning.

For you, however, getting up early to run might be a struggle. If you hate rolling out of bed while it’s still dark outside, but you need to do it to get your runs in, there is only one way that you will do it consistently: you must be willing to eat the shit sandwich of getting up early over and over again.

Another example would be foam rolling and stretching. I hate it. I can think of no more boring ways to spend my time.

But I do it almost daily. I know how much better my muscles feel, and I also believe it has contributed to my staying injury-free this year, despite racking up mileage significantly.

So, I do it.

For the first time in my 15 year fitness journey, I consistently stretch and get regular (self-) massages. I am willing to eat that shit sandwich.

For you, however, foam rolling and stretching might be the highlight of your post-run routine. Then, of course, it is not a shit sandwich you’d have to eat but to the contrary. It is an enjoyable part of achieving your running goals.

Is It Still Worth It?

“Is it still worth it?” – this is the central question you need to answer when your passion serves you another shit sandwich.

When your 4:00 am alarm wakes you up, and you’d prefer to snuggle up with your partner over heading out for a run in the dark.

When you are in that dark place during a race – your legs ache, your back is tight, and you are mentally exhausted.

When you want nothing more than to stop and lay down to sleep.

Then you need to answer the question: “Is this still worth it?”

And you need to respond with a resounding, cheerful yes.

Only when you are willing to embrace all the sacrifices and struggles that you will invariably encounter when you decide to go after big, hairy, audacious running goals will you have any chance of achieving them.

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