Signing up for the Ealing Half Marathon was your first step in a long journey, but did you know almost a quarter of people who sign up never make it to the starting line? Many hit the mental wall long before the race even begins. Perhaps you’ve experienced a day where it was just too hard to get motivated. Where you couldn’t quite tap into the reserves of energy or determination that you definitely have inside of you.
Physical training will only get you so far: Race day itself is filled with excitement and energy, but those long preparation runs will be arduous, and without a mental training plan even the fittest may struggle, maybe at mile 7 on a grey evening practice run, when your mind and body are screaming in harmony to STOP…GO HOME…just put on the TV.
Long distance running is 70% mental strength – an aspect rarely included in a runner’s personal training plan.
Harness the power of your ‘WHY’
When was the last time you asked yourself why?
• Why you do you do what you do?
• Why did you sign on the dotted line and say yes?
• Why running matters, to you, to others, and to the world?
If your ‘why’ is not clear you won’t scratch the surface of your true potential in anything you do. Your personal ‘why’ will compel you to do, create, learn, to pick yourself up and try again. When the heady moments of early commitment wear off it’s that deeply personal mission that will keep you putting one foot in front of the other… faster… for longer.
Why is powerful. Running with purpose (‘why’) is just as important as running with good technique (‘how’).
• Is your ‘why’ to get fit or beat your PB?
• Does running help calm your mind?
• Or is your ‘why’ to raise awareness for a cause that is deeply meaningful to you?
Find your ‘why’ for this run and you will run faster, smoother and smash your PBs left, right and centre.
Three ways to find your WHY
Finding your ‘why’ isn’t always hard; it’s often about giving yourself the time and space to dig beneath the surface.
1. Ask yourself five whys
Your ‘why’ needs to provoke emotion, it must be real to you. Rarely will our first answer get us to this point. Simply ask yourself ‘why’, and then keep repeating the question until you’ve reached the answer that brings a tear to your eye. It’s at this point you know you’ve found your ‘why’.
2. Plot your lifeline
Our ‘whys’ aren’t always obvious, they can come from years of life experiences. This lifeline exercise helps you identify the ups and downs of your life, the times where you were on form, playing to your strengths and in flow, and those moments you would rather forget – all of them are windows to your ‘why’.
3. Enlist your mates
Most of us run with a friend, or chat about our latest run with like-minded souls. Get them to ask you some ‘why-finding’ questions. Start with one or two of these:
• When did you first decide to run?
• What was going on for you then?
• What do you never give up, because you love it so much?
• If there was one thing you wanted people to say after your race…what would it be?
And two ways to remember your WHY…
1. Share your personal ‘WHY’
Tell your friends, your loved ones, your running coach or your running buddy. Enlist them as your personal reminder when times get tough.
2. Don’t just write it down…
Pictures are worth a 1,000 words, so find pictures, take pictures and put them up where you will see them in the morning, when you come home from work. Put them where you stand when you make that choice to put on those smelly trainers and get out in the rain.
And if all else fails, put this track on your headphones and let Team Fearless shout/motivate you into finding and remembering your why!