Do you find yourself saying that you do something and then in the next phrase almost apologise for it? Take a client who recently talked me through the 10k running programme that she had successfully completed and who then declared ‘but I am not a runner.’ I hear this all the time and not just about running. It could be any physical activity, speaking a language, sewing or painting even.
If you watched any of the Athletics World Championships you will have heard many of the athletes talking about mental attitude and belief in their ability to win a particular event as the key to success. Linford Christie reportedly said that at that level success is 90% mental and 10% physical.
So how is this relevant to you?
Let’s go back to the example of running. I don’t know about you but I have always said that I find running hard. I will happily do circuits, swim, yoga even go cycling but running doesn’t come naturally. BUT whilst I was doing my July ‘Going the Distance’ challenge something changed. I was focusing purely on racking up the miles and hitting my distance target. I didn’t think about my speed or compare myself to anyone else. I discovered that I could do far more than I thought and managed 3 runs a week comfortably. That got me thinking about what more I could do.
Out came ‘The Non-Runner’s Marathon Trainer’*
I had bought the book a while ago and started it but got side tracked. I thought that it would be a good resource to look at examples of how runners had gone from taking a casual approach to taking on a major running challenge. I would thoroughly recommend the book which follows a class of students in the USA signing up to a plan which ends with them achieving their goal of completing a marathon. There are mixed ages, abilities and backgrounds and you follow their progress, successes and challenges.
Taking a leap
I think you know what is coming next!
I am now about to start week 6 of the non-runners marathon plan and have covered 89 miles in the last 5 weeks. I have fitted in 4 runs each week and I am not only still in one piece but I am loving it. It is hard and the mileage is really starting to build now but I am doing something that I have told myself for years that I wasn’t good at and couldn’t do.
And that is the message to take away today.
Think about the things that you say to yourself, about how they really sound and what the impact is. I don’t know whether I will get to the end of the plan but I am giving it my best shot. The reality is that I am 44 years old and at some point the mileage will start to take its toll. I need to be fit to work and need to be mindful of that. I have put all the sessions in my diary up to the end of week 10 and I will be thrilled to get that far. To go further would be amazing but we will see. For now a week including an 18 miler as one of 4 runs is looking like a hefty goal to me!
So you need to be your own cheerleader and take your leap of faith. Who knows where it might take you!! I would love to hear what you have always wanted to do and to hear how you get on.
*Book written by David A Whitsett, Forrest A Dalgener, Tanjala Mabon Kole