This weekend many of my friends will be taking on a big challenge. For some it will be their biggest to date and for others it will simply be yet another opportunity to discover themselves.
Having been in both the first timer position and the repeat offender position, I can empathise with them and imagine what must be going through their heads right now.
If I were to offer some advice on how to get your mind in the right space for giving your best, it would go something like this…
The stress we put on ourselves in the anticipation for some things (things that mean a lot to us) can often block us from doing what is needed when it is needed. I believe the key is all in the perception of the endeavour itself.
If you look at it as something that has taken months and months of hard work, all driving you towards a single moment in time that will ultimately determine if you are worthy of the task or not, then there is really very little room to move.
You see, the problem with running long distances is that nothing is certain. All the best laid plans and well constructed training schedules can equal squat when the universe decides to throw in the unexpected.
This is why prior to toeing the start line, I feel it is critical that you have a little chat with yourself about the following things:
1 – You have trained well, or maybe you haven’t. Whatever the situation; that IS the situation and you have decided to have a crack at this thing anyway. This IS the reality and at this point in time, there is nothing more you can do about it. And no… stressing about what should have been is not going to change a single thing.
2 – Expect to be surprised by what the day will present to you. You may have studied the course, run on it several times, checked the weather report every day and considered every possible eventuality. Guess what. You missed something. You forgot that running is about adventure. Adventure means not knowing exactly what is coming and discovering new things about yourself. So expect the unexpected – and welcome it.
3 – Make the call early. If you have bigger fish to fry and a longer term plan in place, then see this event for what it is. If things turn pear shaped on the day and you risk hurting yourself and preventing you from doing what you ultimately want to do, then be willing to call it a day. If however THIS IS IT, then be willing to suffer. Be willing to sacrifice and to pay whatever price is asked.
It may mean being in physical debt for some time after, but make that call early and be accountable.
4 – It’s only running. No matter what happens, at the end of the day your goal should be to have great memories. If you can keep your mind open to the reality of the situation you are in, then all that will be worth it. If you can see that you have voluntarily put yourself in this position, with a body that is capable of doing incredible things (we all have one of these), in possibly the most indescribably beautiful surroundings, with the sort of people that are the essence of what makes humanity great; then recognise that the ultimate outcome of what is about to take place is purely and simply 100% up to you. You decide what you focus on. So focus on sucking every last drop of amazing out the experience. And remember to smile…
Happy running my friends.