We all strive to be happy and satisfied. Happy with our daily activities, happy with our health, satisfied with our efforts personally and professionally and as athletes, satisfied with our results. As athletes, there is much we can do to help ourselves to that happiness and satisfaction, by managing expectations.
First, there are the expectations others have of us. There are many demands that life brings us, some that we have no choice but to accept. These are the highest priority items such as getting the kids to school, paying the bills, getting to work on time. etc. However, there are also those expectations that others place on us that may or may not be high priorities. Some of us (we know who we are) always seem to say yes to added responsibility. It would benefit us all to make a list of our priorities and how much time they take. Then when someone asks us to do something for them, we know if we have the time and can learn to say no. In my mind, even if someone drops a responsibility on my lap without asking, I still reserve the right to say no. Often, I am happy to take on something extra, but I always have a choice and for me, that is important.
In athletics, you have those same choices and it isn’t like getting the workouts and racing done is separate from your other responsibilities. Add the workouts to the list and see how they fit into the scheme of your life. Maybe you can do more training…maybe you should do less. It may cause you to move your training to days it works better. It is about your overall expectations of yourself. If you want to train effectively, you need to be reasonable with yourself and the time you have available.
Race results are cruel. I have long thought they ought to have a comments section so you can tell the world a little about what may have affected how you finished. The truth is that you know what your priorities were in your training and what may have affected those outcomes and that is all that should matter. Easier said than done, I realize, but you will be a much more memorable athlete for balancing your priorities and having realistic expectations than you will for great race results alone. If you can achieve a balance and have both, fantastic! If not, it is still fantastic!
Set out to do the best you can with an honest effort. Expect no less and no more.