I had the pleasure of delivering a workshop to help RISE UK runners prepare mentally for the Brighton Half Marathon in February 2015 and the Brighton Marathon in April 2015. This workshop was held at the Studio57 Clinic in Hove. RISE UK is a local domestic abuse charity that I have supported for several years by delivering workshops and individual coaching sessions to their fundraisers.
The aim of this first workshop was to help runners build their confidence by focusing on their goals and motivation to take on such a big challenge. We also had Matt Phillips from Studio57 delivering a talk related to training and injury prevention.
The workshop started with an introduction by all participants and the reasons why they chose to run for RISE. There were many very personal and very touching stories. We then moved onto the importance of effective goal setting. I stressed how setting many goals, rather than having only one goal, would help runners ensure they had more chances of success.
With only one goal for an event, they have one chance to succeed and one chance to fail. One chance to feel good about what they have done and about themselves versus one chance to not feeling good about themselves. Therefore, by setting several goals for one event, they have more chances of being able to say ‘yes, I did it!’ and say they have achieved their goals, and feel good about themselves. The idea behind setting many goals is to ensure the runner has many reasons to feel good about themselves and what they have done. Plus, this feel-good feeling might give them a boost to go on and do more things be they running related or otherwise.
While discussing goals, we touched on the difference between ‘performance or process goals’ and ‘outcome goals’. A process goal are those goals whereby the person does have some control and influence over. Process goals include such things as running at a steady pace, maintaining their focus on their plan rather than getting swept away, monitoring their internal dialogue and ensuring it remains positive and support. More process goals might include following a reasonable training plan and managing their nutritional intake.
Outcome goals on the other hand are outside a person’s control. These type of goals include the time they will run the race in (because weather might have an impact) and where they place overall (because other competitors might turn up on the day and be better than them). Participants were encouraged to avoid these types of goals because they did not have complete control on whether the goal was achieved or not. Yet saying that, by having some sort of idea as to the time a runner wishes to complete the race in can help with tailoring the training to help meet that objective.
Following on from the discussion of goal setting, we touched on motivation. The reasons ‘why’ we do what we set out to do will have a significant impact on carrying us through the tough times. Clearly outlining all those reasons ‘why’ and then posting them prominently around your home will help provide the incentive to get out the door and do the necessary training on those cold, dark or wet nights. Additionally, during the race, those reasons ‘why’ will help carry you through to the end of the race!
When looking at motivation, some of the key questions that help clarify those reasons why include:
- What will it mean to achieve the goals? What is its significance? What will happen when I get it? How will it look? How will it feel? What will I see and hear?
- How will achieving this goal affect other aspects of my lie?
- In what way is the outcome worth the time, effort and energy?
- What are the benefits, to all areas of my life, once I achieve my goal?
The session concluded with an offer to provide individual coaching sessions to the RISE runners to help them clarify their goals and their reasons ‘why’ as well as explore any of their fears.
For those runners who did not attend the workshop, they were emailed and invited to get in touch to discuss getting their head around doing the challenge of running the Brighton Half Marathon and Brighton Marathon.
I was also pleased to be able to point the runners to my Winning Strategies for Sports and Life book which goes into more detail about what we had covered in the session, and could provide guidance and advice to help them as they prepare for the challenge ahead.