Stop Giving It All or Nothing

How Training for a Half Marathon has made me dislike running from www.dineanddish.netAlternate titles for this post:

“How Training For a Half Marathon Has Made Me Dislike Running”

“What the hell is wrong with me and why can’t I stick to anything?”

“Tales of a non-perfectionist, perfectionist”

You get the point. Running and I are not being friends right now. “Well, how can that be?” you ask. “Aren’t you training to run a half-marathon in October? Didn’t you write out all of these lofty goals on your 39th birthday and said you were going to make 39 the best year ever?”

Yes, yes I did… and I have some explaining to do. You see, signing up to run a half marathon was something I did on a whim. It sounded like a good goal at the time, but I really didn’t think it through. Even though I had run 5K’s in the past, I hadn’t ever ran past 3.2 miles and well, to be frank, I am pretty much perfectly fine NEVER running 13 miles. Ever. Of course, I didn’t realize that until I started training for the half marathon and realized just exactly how far 13 miles is! It’s a VERY long ways, people! Very long.

Still, I committed and have been training. I even ran on vacation and kept up with my training then. My problem stems from the day after we returned from vacation. According to my half-marathon training schedule I was slated to run 7 miles. After a week of eating ice cream every day, rich breakfast foods, splurging on all the extras, I was scheduled to run my furthest distance ever, by far. You can probably guess what happened… I got less than half of the way done, felt like I was dying, and I quit. What came next was this self-loathing, disappointed, “you suck and can’t do this” spiral. In my head I knew that my training program was designed to help people finish a half marathon. After failing at one run, I just told myself I can’t do it… and since I failed at that one run I was off schedule and might as well give up. So I did.

Shame Quote Brene Brown


I was/am embarrassed, ashamed, and disappointed in myself. I have been terribly overwhelmed at the thought of trying to run that distance again and have decided that running 5 miles, maybe 6, is about as far as I like to run. So what have I been doing? Running hardly at all. Because, if I can’t run the distance the half-marathon training app tells me I should be running, I might as well just not run. Right? Makes sense? No, it doesn’t. It makes no sense at all but that’s just how my brain works. You might be like me if…

  • You join Weight Watchers and do a good job counting your points. Then, one morning, you splurge and have an outrageously calorie laden breakfast. You are sure you went way over your points, so, you just stop counting points for the day. Then that spills into the week because you aren’t sure exactly how many of your “extra” weekly points you may have used so you just throw in the towel for the entire week. That one week turns to two and two to three and before long you realize that your donations to Weight Watchers are quite hefty and cancel your membership… for the third time in one year.
  • You buy a new planner that starts fresh with August 1st. You were so busy you didn’t get to sit down to write in your planner on August 1st. Weeks pass by and since you missed the first couple of weeks of the month your planner starts, you set it aside only to not use it at all because it isn’t “perfect” not starting it on the date you were designed to start it on. $50 bucks down the drain and a beautiful, empty planner remains sitting on your desk, unused.
  • You plan on starting a weekly cleaning regimen. You are supposed to start on Monday, but Monday is crazy busy and you don’t get around to it. You could very easily start on Tuesday, but that’s not “perfect” so you don’t start at all.
  • You set out in 2013 to share a weekly menu plan on your blog each Sunday. You missed one Sunday so then quit doing it all together, because that’s logical, right?
  • You do a monthly photography prompt for fun. You miss a day and instead of picking up on the next day, you quit completely because it wouldn’t be “perfect” to have a gaping day right in the middle of the month where you forgot to take the picture.

I’m ashamed, angry, annoyed, and unhappy with myself. I am not a perfectionist, so why do I try to live my life in a way where I set expectations upon myself to be perfect? I’m at the point where I need to either buy new clothes, wear sweats 24/7 or get on the flipping wagon and lose some weight. And running will help with that… running 1 mile, 3 miles or 13 miles will HELP with that.

I will be running the half marathon.. well not running, but I will be doing the half marathon and I will cross the finish line, even if it takes me hours and hours.


In the meantime, I’ve joined the free “Live More, Weigh Less” challenge that starts on September 3rd over at Sarah Jenks website. Won’t you join me? (even if you start on the 4th or the 5th or the 15th, that’s ok!) I’m looking forward to going on a journey of self discovery and loving myself again – 30 pounds overweight and all. I’m tired of going all or nothing and repeating the same patterns… I’m ready to accept that sometimes, in between is just fine. I want to let go of the ties to perfection and accept what I can do and am capable of without the self-loathing and pity that comes when I try too hard to live up to the un-realistic expectations I set for myself.

Don’t you?


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  1. says

    This was awesome, and completely speaks to me. I’m totally a non perfectionist perfectionist!! It is such a problem, and love your title, “stop giving it all or nothing” because sometimes half way is all most of us can do! Good for you for still doing the race–it’s ok to walk it some! I trained and ran/jogged/walked a half marathon 2 years ago after only running 5k before, and it is an AMAZING accomplishment. I wowed so many people–especially myself. Keep it up, you can do it;)

  2. says

    I can so relate to this. I had an old boyfriend once call me “the queen of good intentions.” I think he meant it as a compliment, but I’ve always seen it as “the girl who starts everything and never finishes.” I working on being happy because of who I am, not who I want to be, and you- my friend – wrote just the words that I needed to hear tonight.

  3. says

    I could have written this post. I am the same way with the all or nothing. Thanks for the reality check! I also relate to running this way. I love it and I hate it…depends on the week and how training is going. Good luck with your half marathon!

  4. Aimee from AL says

    I signed up to run a half marathon on a whim several years ago and I hadn’t run further than a couple of miles in my life. I trained entirely on my own and the morning of my 8 miler (at that point the longest I had ever run before), it started out good and then got terribly bad. I just couldn’t do it. I tried with every ounce of my being and ended up having to have my husband come pick me up, barely making it half way. My point is, I had a rough patch in my training and still went on to run the half and finished it! my point is, YOU CAN DO IT! Keep pushing and the day you cross that finish line you will be so so proud of yourself! Good luck!

  5. Wendi says

    I have been feeling exactly this way for a while now. Start something and not finishing, feeling lousy about me and being yes..30 pounds over weight. I feel lazy. This was really nice to read because usually everyone’s life seems perfect online. Thank you hopefully I get passed this and feel better soon!

  6. Courtney says

    Thank you so much for your honesty! Its nice to hear from another lady who is dealing with the same things as I am.

  7. Ellen says

    I just was linked to this post through another blogger that I like and found that YOU ARE JUST LIKE ME!!!!! We are like twins, I can sense it!!! I can’t believe it. I had planned on running a half at the end of August and mid summer with all the travel and eating I was only getting 6 miles in and that was about all I could give (and enjoy, like you!). Anyway, good news, a week before the race I told myself that if I could run 8 miles I would run the race and just finish when I finish. I wasn’t going to try to break any records. Well, I managed to run 8 that day so I reluctantly signed up for the half. Ran the race on a beautiful and uncharacteristically cool morning and finished like I knew I could. It finished with the worst time I have ever had running a half but I think it was my favorite run because I didn’t put any pressure on myself and was so proud to have overcome my running obstacles over the summer. Keep at it, you can do it! My mantra that I repeated during the run was, “Be strong, there’s work to be done, this race will be won!” It worked!

  8. says

    This post hit home, Kristen! I am a total perfectionist and beat myself up for not following through with my own resolutions. You’re totally right—the all or nothing mentality doesn’t do us any good. Time to accept my shortcomings and set more reasonable expectations.

  9. Katerina says

    Buy new clothes, wear sweats (or dresses), or lose some friggin weight! WOW!! I’m right there with ya sister! Been there for 2 years.

  10. says

    I too am training for a half marathon – this weekend I ran the longest I ever had (in my life) 10 miles and it was misery – sheer misery. Even days after that I was super sore and struggled to run four miles. You gotta rest up and just get back out there! You can absolutely do it. If you’re already up to 6 miles just keep adding one more mile every weekend and do shorter runs during the week! You can 100% do this! Go for it girl!

  11. says

    Ahh … sending you a big hug. I have done the same thing so many times. You know how many ideas our blog has had, and some have been executed and then I miss one, and!!! It is tough to keep up with life. Really tough. I blame it on distraction, at least for me. I tried for a marathon once. I made it to week 8, and to be honest, I hated every second. But, I signed up with a friend and pushed through until I got hurt a mile 8. Secretly, I was relived when my doctor told me I did not have the body to run, and shouldn’t be doing so. After recovering, I jumped on a bike and have been happier ever since. I considered it a sign. Maybe it is your sign? At least you can say you tried – that my friend, is never failure!!!

  12. Leiram says

    Maybe it’s because it’s Erev Yom Kippur, but I found myself sitting here with tears in my eyes because I COULD HAVE WRITTEN THIS POST.

    Thank you for articulating exactly how I feel so I know I’m not alone–and I love that you’re going the same route I am to try and make things better! I start the Live More Weigh Less challenge in 4 days. :)

  13. says

    Hi there! My name is Jessica, and I run a food blog called Floptimism where, every Saturday, I write a Weekend Wrap-Up post to share all of my favorite internet finds from the past week. I wanted to let you know that I absolutely loved this post — it’s such a powerful message to remind people of — so much so that I featured it in my blog’s Weekend Wrap-Up. I’ve included the link to the post in case you’re interested. Thanks for such an inspiring post!

  14. Meg says

    Hi Kristen – I realize this comment is way, waaaaay late BUT I just wanted you to know that since I first read this post months & months ago it’s been something that has always been in the back of my mind and gets brought up when I start having any of my perfectionism-based-on-shame moments. It’s amazing how much we can get in our own ways. I love what you said here SO much, and it’s really effected/helped my life. Realized it was very unfair of me to refer to advice so often & never let the advice-giver know so: THANK YOU. We’ve got to stop giving it all or nothing!


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