I was faced with a dilemma yesterday. My flight out of Des Moines, Iowa was early in the morning, and I had an 18 mile long run scheduled for that day. Generally I hate running after flying, as my legs are stiff, and my body dehydrated. As I weighed the pros vs the cons of moving the run to the following day, I started thinking about the concept of duty versus choice with regards to all areas of life. When I stepped off the plane, I had come to a mindset that I was excited to go for that run, and felt empowered that it was my choice, and not a duty to get it done!
Every day many people wander off to work with a sense of apathy to their duty of sustaining their employment. I had this feeling every day going to high school. Never did I want to go, but felt obliged so that I wouldn’t get suspended. However, who was ultimately affected by this mindset or approach? I was! I missed out on some amazing opportunities that high school could have provided for me, but instead I dreaded every day, and counted down the seconds until the Friday end-of-school bell rang.
There are always going to be situations where you have to just get something done, but when you are able to find a way to make it a choice rather than a duty, much more enjoyment, and ultimately success is going to come from it. When I returned to Michigan after my London Olympic disappointment, I decided that I was only going to run when I felt like it, and not stick to any kind of schedule for the first 3-4 months. My coach backed off me, and gave me this freedom to help get my mind around the state of disillusion I was wrestling with. Surprisingly however, I ended up running nearly every day (minus my weekly rest day). Long days studying in campus libraries gave me a yearning to get outside and take my dog for a run. Had my coach been hounding me to run every day, I most likely would have rebelled, or obliged him with a remained distain for running.
So how does one take this approach into a working environment, when you have a boss that has expectations of you? This is by no means is a well thought out answer, but merely me pondering the question. The key seems to be control. If you wield the control to not turn up to work, with knowledge that other options are a presentable option, but still choose to go to work, that is your choice! This is much like my run yesterday. I could have delayed my run a day, but that would have had negative consequences on other training plans I had for the week. Tired legs would have ruined my Tuesday workout for instance. I still had the power to choose between those options though. Thankfully I chose the wise option, and ended up having a really enjoyable two-hour run despite the pouring rain!