I had A LOT of time to myself recently as I shuffled the streets training for the London marathon. Unfortunately my poor brain, seriously depleted of oxygen and preoccupied directing energy to my aching legs, seemed unable to produce much beyond a few phrases and cliches on rotation for hours. Luckily they were on point and applicable, in marathon training and in life.
I thought I’d share them with you, so then they’ll be stuck in your head instead because we all need a reminder of home truths sometimes.
Eyes on your own path
There’s only one reason I get stressed or embarrassed about my incredibly slow pace (and believe me, I wrote the book on slow. I was once passed by an old man who must have been pushing 90, long grey hair streaming down his back, who shuffled by me with a kindly ‘you can do it love’. What a legend.)
The reason I get anxious or feel shit about my pace has nothing to do with the pace itself and everything to do with my thinking about it. When I fixate on that hot woman going so much faster than me, I feel like shit. When I remember I’m creating that feeling with my momentary thinking and it has nothing to do with my pace or hers, voilà, back to enjoying my slow shuffle.
One foot in front of the other
I have a crappy run when I’m all up in my head about the future. When that happens, my spiral thinking goes a little something like this:
- Aaargggh I’m sooooo exhausted
- Bloody hell I’m not even halfway into this run
- OMG I have to run a gazillion times further than this in a few weeks, WTF ?!?!
Cue spiralling panic which totally zaps my energy and focus.
But if I stay in the moment and ask myself, ‘Can you do just one more mile?’ The answer is always yes.
We only ever have to do what’s right in front of us in that very moment. And we can always do that.
Trust your instincts
With marathon training, as with anything in life, there are 1,000+ experts (plus 1,000+ wannabe experts) out there wanting to tell you exactly what you need to do to successfully cross the line. But the thing is, none of them are you. None of them have the unique strengths and attributes and quirks and challenges that you have. So that expert advice is a useful starting point and ideas’ generator, not a foolproof script to follow. I found that the hard way recovering from injury when I pushed a recovery run against clear messages from my body. When we adopt anyone else’s guidance without checking inwards first, we override our natural instincts, wisdom and creativity.
Commit with everything you’ve got
I had absolutely no freaking idea when I signed up for the marathon how I’d be able to do it. At the time I had crippling pain every time I placed my foot on the floor (plantar fasciitis is the devil’s spawn) and couldn’t run more than 1 mile.
But the WHY was so strong, the HOW seemed like a minor detail.
And so it became – somehow I found myself crossing that finish line! When your why is strong enough, the how falls into place. Or put another way:
“Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back, always ineffectiveness. Concerning all acts of initiative (and creation), there is one elementary truth, the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then Providence moves too. All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one’s favour all manner of unforeseen incidents and meetings and material assistance, which no woman could have dreamt would have come her way.”
-William Hutchison Murray
Over to you…. What could re-examining some of this age-old wisdom bring to you:
- What if you trusted your own path and inner wisdom instead of seeking more ‘expert’ advice outside of yourself?
- What if you remembered that it’s moment-to-moment thinking that causes stress and anxiousness, not your slow pace, crappy job or lack of funds?
- What if you did the thing that’s right in front of you instead of trying to solve a potential future problem?
- What if you amped up your why?
You’ve so got this! Sending you vibes of trust, peace and focus.