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August 16th, 2011
07:20 PM ET

Letters to the President: #939 'Run like a runner: part two'

Reporter's Note: The president is running for re-election. I’ve just been running a lot.

Dear Mr. President,

Continuing on the theme from yesterday, here is lesson number two: The run that matters is not today’s, but tomorrow’s.

This is a notion that people sometimes find confusing, (like the antler hat I wear when running around Christmastime) and yet it is one that I have come to believe in with the same fervor of a Canadian defending the honor of the lowly beaver. In a nutshell, it means, don’t burn everything in a hell-for-leather run or overreact to what happens today, if you are scheduled to work out again tomorrow. Pace yourself and focus on the big picture.

I suppose I’ve run somewhere around 1,000 miles this year. Some of my runs have been wonderful; full of mile-eating strides that make me feel terrific. Others have been more pedestrian; not great, not awful. And some have been dreadful; legs full of lead shot, wheezing like a broken accordion, ready to hang up the running shoes and never take them down again.

But in each case what I’ve told myself is, “Enjoy (or endure) today, and prepare for tomorrow. The road is long.” That’s what I mean by putting the proper importance on tomorrow’s run.

Focusing on the next day keeps me from getting too caught up in either the good or the bad of any given moment, so I don’t blow either one out of proportion. This lesson works so well on the trail, that I have applied it to everything I do. If I have a great day at work, I enjoy it, but I don’t make wild assumptions that this is the new “normal;” I prepare myself for a more average day tomorrow. Likewise if I have an awful day on the job, I assume tomorrow will be better and I get ready to be ready for it.

Mainly what this approach does is give me perspective; and in any long, arduous effort, that will keep you in the contest much longer than any one moment.

Call if you get a minute, btw; would love to chat a bit!

Regards,

Tom

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