I increased my running distance today – it’s now 8km (5miles) 3 times per week. Less than 6 months ago, a few hundred meters was my limit!
I reckon it’s 20% fitness and 80% mental and that is why I get so much more out of running than just the weight loss and other health benefits. It boosts my self-confidence. I thought that adding the extra 2km would ‘hurt’ but it didn’t – on the contrary, the different scenery helped!
The key elements for me:
the right music;
keeping my mind off the fact that I’m running.
Before I started the run today, I stood outside my house and, in my mind, pictured the route – I readied myself, I focused, I got my mind on track and off I went. At one point on the run, my mind fixed on the running (which isn’t good) and I had to move it back to the music and remind myself that if I stopped running and walked, I’d chastise myself and it worked. I simply would not let myself stop. I went into ‘the zone’ and it was easy again.
I was buzzing when I got back home, buzzing because I did keep going, I didn’t stop, I overcame the desire to slow down, I fought off the laziness. That desire to slow down had nothing to do with physical fatigue, it was all in my mind. That sense of personal achievement is very powerful. It makes me feel capable, not just of running, but of being able to do other things which, in a more negative frame of mind, I would tell myself that I cannot do. Even when I’m running, when I am in that ‘zone’, I feel a ‘rush’ of positive energy and feel generally able – I am hit with an appetite for living and achieving.
Achievement and success, however small and incremental, are powerful motivating elements – they fuel self-confidence, self-belief and further achievement and success. Running over 8km today, it’s not climbing Everest, it’s not running a marathon but it is an achievement for me and that’s what counts. It’s a personal thing and it’s powerfully energising.