Today may people are either running, supporting or watching the London Marathon. As I sit here at home doing some work, I have the marathon on the TV and listening to the progress. From elite runners, celebrities, serious club runners and everyone else out there to raise money for some great charities, it’s amazing to watch. It certainly brings back memories of my marathon runs and has inspired me to write today and ponder … What does it take, from a mental perspective, to take on such a challenge? For me, right now, I’m coming back from injury and illness, so although I’ve recently run the Brighton Half Marathon in February, I chose not to running a marathon until possibly next year.
So back to the question about what it takes to take on such a challenge. To start off with, it takes a dream of taking on the challenge, of raising funds for a worthy cause or maybe of pushing one’s own boundaries of what they thought possible. Having that dream can be exciting and generates the energy to make it a real goal, and to take action! Once the decision to take on the goal is there, a plan needs to be made. Whether that is solely a training plan of the miles to complete to physically prepare the body or whether it is working with a coach, having some sort of idea of what you are going to do is essential.
Working the plan may then sound easy because all you need is to do what the plan says. Yet, what can be tough is the discipline, the dedication, the committment to do everything that is necessary to get you to the start line and to be able to put one foot in front of the other so you can cross the finish line. Things happen, life happens, so sticking to that plan can be tough.
When someone has a big goal to go after, everything they eat, how they spend their time and who they surround themselves with will ultimately affect their performance. So, to help them be the best they can be, they need to ask themselves ‘is what I am doing helping or hindering me?‘ Do the people, places and things that are in their lives positively contribute towards them being the best they can be or, do they hinder or negatively distract from moving forward towards the goal. For example, eating fast food and junk food has a negative effect on the body, and as a result, this will have a detrimental effect on performance. Spending time worrying about things they can not control or around people who moan and complain about things in life can have a draining effect which again can have a detrimental effect on the performance. The mindset of a strong individual is being aware of what helps and what hinders, and doing everything possible to ensure that everything in their life helps them be the best they can be!
Yet whether you have been able to focus lots of time, energy and attention on your preparation and ensured that everything helps, when it comes to race day, you can only do the best you can do on the day, regardless of the preparation you have done. You need the mental strength and perseverance to keep on going, maybe even re-adjusting your original goal to be more realistic to how you are on the day. So by the end of the race, you can be pleased with yourself and your achievement, whatever that achievement was!
As I watch the thousands of runners as the marathon progresses, I am filled with admiration at their focus, their dedication and their abilities and I wonder … where in my life can I dream a dream, make a goal, make a plan to achieve that goal before working the plan and putting one foot in front of the other to reach the end? So, watch this space!
Where in your life can you dream a dream and make it happen?
Midgie Thompson is a coach, trainer, motivational speaker and author who specializes in improving individual and team performance in sport, business and life. Midgie uses techniques derived from coaching, NLP and sport psychology to help individuals raise their game and be the best they can be. She has developed her own methodology for getting the best out of yourself in her book, “Winning Strategies – for Sports and Life” available from Amazon.