Aren’t our minds incredible? When it comes to getting fit, it can be your friend or enemy. And very often when you’re starting out, it’s the enemy. It’s why I find trail running much easier – I am so distracted by making sure each step is safe and by the surrounding beauty (which can be astounding) that I very seldom take notice of what my mind is telling me. But put me on a flat road where I am conscious of every step I take, and my mind has its own party. “You’ll never make it, look how far you still have to run, why don’t you stop – no one will know, why do this to yourself, why aren’t you lolling next to the pool eating ice cream?!” and so it goes on until the end.
Let’s face it, life isn’t always fair and to prove the point, consider the difference in becoming fit and unfit. Not exercising for any reason will see your fitness levels rapidly decline but there is nothing rapid about getting fit. It is tough. It is depressing at times. And it is not always pretty. It takes a lot of hard work to see results and, throw your distracting mind into it (or is that only mine?!), and well, it’s not much fun, is it.
But anyone who has done it will know that one day, after much hard slog, you will have a breakthrough – you’ll run and it will all seem to click. Your legs will feel light and youthful (assuming you’re not quite a youth), your shoulders will stay back, your head up and instead of the heavy (gasping!) breathing that is your norm, the only thing you will hear is the sound of Chariots of Fire! You’ll get home and say: “I am an athlete!” and spend the rest of the day on a high. (I don’t want to be a grinch but more than likely the next day you’ll be gasping again but that’s not the point here).
And that day will be your turning point. You will remember it going forward when you are struggling and you will know that you can have it again. It will motivate you to keep on going until one day you will be able to look back and see what great strides you have made (pun intended).
I have 1 more week before I can run again and while I know I will have many times of fighting with my mind, I can’t wait for my breakthrough day! It better hurry up because I will have 3 months to get from doing nothing to running that marathon. My mind is not wrong on this one when it tells me that I am quite clearly crazy!