What can a marathon teach you, other than you must be a whole lot of crazy? Well, quite a lot really.
This post was written specifically about the challenge of running a marathon, but really it relates to any major life challenge. It can be said that challenges in our lives provide us with very similar lessons to those that I learnt whilst training for a marathon.
The lesson of believing in yourself.
Fear of failure shouldn’t stop you. Just because you think that getting to the end is near impossible, it shouldn’t deter you from having a go.
Life is all about trying. Trying to succeed, and also learning from failing. You can’t be perfect at everything, and learning from failing is just as important as succeeding, as it provides for personal growth.
Failing also makes the taste of success that much sweeter.
Imagine if Steve Jobs had of quit after he was fired from Apple. We would never of had the iPhone, iTunes, iPad or the Macbook!
So believe in yourself, because if you don’t back yourself, then who else will?
The lesson of dedication
You can’t rely on luck to get you through. For me even being the eternal optimist that I am, I knew that positivity was not going to be enough to get me to the finish line.
If you want to achieve your goal you need to be committed. By commitment I mean putting your time and energy wholeheartedly into your goal.
For me it early mornings, and hours pounding the pavement. Being able to run 42kms didn’t just happen over night. To learn any new skill to the point of unconscious control, practice and patience is required.
Yes, it is often challenging, but challenges build our resilience and determination to succeed.
The lesson of acceptance
The lesson of acceptance, both of ourselves, and of others is a big one.
Accepting your own weaknesses is important, as it provides a starting point and allows you to develop a plan focusing on the areas that require greatest improvement.
The acceptance of others is also important, as is the realisation that we are all different in terms of our motivations, passions and aspirations.
This this is what makes us unique, we don’t all have the same level of motivation to achieve the same goals. Only .5% of the population will run a marathon.
The question you should ask, is how can I support this person to motivate them and help them achieve their goals ? Our differences not only make us unique, they educate us. So it may be more a case of “what can this person teach me?”, and “will that help me to reach my goal?”
When we accept where we are at, it allows us the freedom to live in the present moment. This leads to the creation of happy people, free from worry about the past or future.
The lesson of accomplishment
When you achieve something that you thought was nearly impossible, you also gain a huge sense of accomplishment.
There is nothing greater than the feeling of achieving something you never thought possible. It not only provides you with a huge sense of euphoria, it also makes other goals seem more achievable.
So step out of your comfort zone and decide to try to achieve something that you did not think was possible.
The lesson of planning
We all have heard the saying, “failing to plan, is planning to fail”.
I have found this to be true in almost every aspect of my life, but never more so then with running a marathon.
I can honestly say that I did not get this planning right from the start, I haphazardly went about my running. In the beginning their were social commitments that I would prioritise over my training, I found myself running 17km a day back to back to ensure I was getting in the obligatory Km’s. This of course lead to injury, with my body not able to withstand the additional loading.
Without planning you compromise the quality of what you do, and you have no clear vision on how to reach your end goal.
Through injury I realised how planning allowed me to prioritise my tasks. This invariably made me more efficient and productive as adequate rest and recovery was also factored into the equation.
Your friends and family are your biggest supporters
The amount of times I thought about quitting, only to have a friend or a Pilates client tell me how I had motivated them to achieve a goal. Their stories were inspirational, as no matter what the goal they persevered to reach it.
The biggest mistake I made was not to reach out to them sooner.
Often in life we are afraid of asking for help, for fear of rejection or embarrassment, that we should be able to do this by ourselves.
What we often don’t realise is how our wellbeing is intrinsically linked to the wellbeing of others, and that through helping others we can gain a sense of satisfaction. In helping others we help ourselves.
In need of some support? Then call a friend or ask for it, you may be surprised and just how much support you receive.
Time to get planning for your next big achievement? It will definitely teach you a thing or two about yourself and life.