The statement “It’s not how you start that matters” could fit into so many different situations. We all know that how you finish is so much more important than how we start. That counts for relationships, weight loss, races and so many other areas. I agree 100% with the common finish to that statement…It’s How You Finish That Matters Most. But, I do question the idea that is being insinuated; how you start certainly does matter.
Let’s look at a 5K race for instance. If you have a goal time set and you really want to beat that time, the finish is by far the most important part of your race. That’s when you get to see your time. If you push hard at the end you are more likely to get your time. The finish is hugely important. So let’s say you wanted to beat a 24 minute 5K. You need to run at a pace faster than 7 min 44 sec per mile to do that. Does the start pace matter? Surely considering you have 24 minutes to run the first few minutes aren’t going to come into play. Right?
That is not the case. The most common mistake with all runners is to take off too fast and to overwhelm their muscles and lungs in the beginning. Then you are going to be fighting your body to go harder than it wants for the rest of your race. If you want to run a 7:45 pace you are much more likely to make that happen by running your first mile in 8 minutes than to run it at 7:30. Statistics are clear on this. It’s fifteen seconds either direction, but your body will get warmer and more ready to run as it goes. Almost every single distance running record is set with a pace that gets increasing faster. The last mile should be your best. It’s how you finish that matters. BUT, how you start determines how you finish.
We all go through life wanting to make changes and improve ourselves. Sometimes we decide we are fed up with our current situation and want immediate change now. We make drastic changes to our habits and expect that the determination will carry us through the struggle that change always bring. Unfortunately, over time that determination gets beat down by the struggle and we frequently start doubting we can accomplish our goals.
You know what happened in that situation? The same thing that happened in the 5K. We go out to hot and burn up our determination. Change will almost always bring struggle. Expect to struggle, expect to question your decisions. Be deliberate with your plans, and follow through on them. Don’t be unrealistic with your expectations. If your goal is to lose weight then set realistic goals. Don’t try to lose everything in the first month. Because you may get 80% there and then that last 20% comes after you hit a wall of frustration that you can’t knock down because you have no energy left.
Slow and steady may not sound exciting. If your goals are to make positive changes in your life don’t worry about how exciting the plan sounds. Be excited about where you are headed and let that carry your through. Some weeks will feel great, others won’t be as good. If you are working a plan and giving it time to come to fruition everything will be fine. Because as we said, how you finish is really the most important part.