Embrace the Struggle
The Cameron Hanes Effect
Last week, I put together my list of my top 10 runner Instagram accounts to help you find the motivation to get out and run when the odds may be stacked against you. Number one on that list was Cameron Hanes which may seem odd considering he's most popularly known for his bowhunting achievements, but he's also taken to ultrarunning as a means to train for his extreme back-country hunting treks. I attribute a lot of my success in 2017 to his mantra "nobody cares, work harder." Whatever obstacle you're facing, don't waste energy complaining about it, work harder to find a way to embrace the struggle and overcome it.
What inspired me to choose Hanes as my number one pick was the fact that he's seemingly unstoppable. He's got a hand in so many different projects and hobbies but manages to keep up with them all. His Instagram feed is packed with plenty of inspiration but also plenty of content that reminds you that he's just a normal guy, albeit with unbelievable ambition and drive. Leading up to the Moab 240 he was running a marathon every day to train while still working his regular job. He's a pure example of someone fighting every day to reach their fullest potential, and once he's reached it, I guarantee he'll find a way to push even further.
Now, don't get me wrong, I'm in no way suggesting everyone do as much as Cameron Hanes does, but I think if you can work to emulate even a fraction of his drive and his work ethic, you'll see immediate improvements in all of your endeavors. I think this is especially important to remember now as the winter months make it even more difficult to keep up with your running goals. With travel, bad weather, and holiday plans, it's easy to push your workout routines and training plans to the back burner, making it even harder to pick up again in the new year.
Running, like any habit, takes discipline. Fall out of that habit, and you may struggle to re-establish it. My advice to you is to take the Cameron Hanes approach and embrace that struggle. Every obstacle you overcome is just another achievement adding to the strength of your will-power. 2017 was the first year that I really built a consistent running routine. It wasn't easy, but I feel like running is no longer something I do, it's something I need. Writing that down sounds ridiculous but it's all about curating the discipline.
Last week, after the snow, I used the terrible weather as an excuse to skip my Thursday run. I was visiting family for the weekend as well so my Saturday long run was pushed back as well. By Sunday I was itching to get outside. I needed to get outside and run. Even on days when I have to force myself out the door, as soon as I start, I feel this incredible calm settle over me. Running is familiar now in a way that it has never been for me. I used to begin training for each race feeling as though I was starting from scratch but now I've established a foundation that I can continue to build from.
Sure the consistency of running keeps my body in shape, but just as important in distance running, it's also helped strengthen my mind. I don't know how many times I've heard, "your mind is a muscle that needs to be trained," but now I'm realizing that struggle is the best form of exercise. Think about the soreness in your legs after a good workout. You embrace that stiffness because you know that afterward, you're going to be stronger. When I'm struggling on a run, I've grown to embrace it because I know that if I can overcome that struggle, it's going to better prepare me to confront whatever the next obstacle may be.
Next time you're on a run and you're struggling, or you're having a hard time motivating yourself to even get out the door, focus in on what's causing that resistance. Define what you're struggling with, and commit to overcoming it because as Cameron Hanes would say "Nobody cares, work harder." Once you do, you'll only be that much more resilient the next time.