A 13.1-mile race was much more than a simple half-marathon. At least to me. So having success at this was something I was doubtful about at first. I am by no means a trained athlete or even a person who loves athletics. But I am a person who seeks to expand my abilities and accomplishments by challenging myself.
So why is this such a big deal and why am I sharing it here? Because it is a clear example of how anyone can set an intention, focus over a period of time, find joy in the process and succeed.
It wasn’t that bad, either!
Sure, it did rain that day but thankfully stopped just in time for the start of the race. The rain made things a bit humid, though. It led to a very “terrarium” type day for the 2.5 hours it took me to complete the course (my way of speaking kindly about the oppressive humidity in the lower Ohio Valley). While many runners actually run marathons and half-marathons because they are runners at heart, many more do it to be a part of something larger than themselves. There are also those that just want to be able to take selfies along the way so they can get lots of Facebook attention.
So assuming you are going to run a marathon, or a half-marathon, let’s take a deeper look at how you can apply these training techniques to help you have success.
Setting an Intention
I came across a forgotten piece of paper with some things I “intended” to accomplish when cleaning my office the other day. Those intentions were written as if they had already occurred and achieved. You guessed it, I had completed a 13.1-mile half-marathon on that long forgotten paper. That motivated me to get it done. It was the first step in creating this success.
Intention setting is powerful! Be clear on what you intend to do as it is a very effective strategy to help you move closer to a goal.
That is exactly what I needed on each of those training runs. At first, each 2-mile run I did seemed long. In a matter of 16 weeks, though, I was completing 10 miles with almost glee. Instead of counting my steps, or looking at how far I had yet to run, I spent the time focusing on my thoughts – positive ones!
It isn’t easy to find time to yourself, where you can let your thoughts “run” and that is exactly what I did on my training runs. The mixture of physical exercise, breath work, endorphins and time spent in my own thoughts produced many profound epiphanies and helped me to increase my creativity. Of course, it also helped me to make 13.1 miles seem not so far! Focus was a key factor in my success.
Joy in the Process
If you have followed any of my blogs, you will notice the topic of joy comes up often. In my younger days, I was definitely an “end result” kind of gal. So it is interesting to find me talking about process. Ugh! Never mind finding joy in it! Are you serious?
Well, all kidding aside, once I chose to allow the training process to be enjoyable, it was. I enjoyed spending time with people I would not have meet in any other situation. The process of training allowed me to get my mind on something else or on nothing at all. Finding joy in the process led to success.
The day after the big 13.1-mile race, I discovered that I actually missed the training and my training pals.
Yes, I did start out to see if I could run 13.1 miles, a whole half-marathon. It was sort of a bucket list item and a personal challenge. While I did complete the race and in decent time, I found that what meant more to me were the friends I had made while training. Remember on our way to the goal, it is often the journey that provides the most fulfillment. Keeping that in mind, attaining the goal, the result, is just the icing on the cake.
Now go out and run your own marathon, half-, quarter- or even a block. Again, it isn’t necessarily the end result, it is the joy of the journey. You can have that piece of cake with a lot of icing too!
Mary Meston is a Certified High Performance Coach™. Her current practice leverages 25 years of experience in business, organizational change and the psychology of personal growth and development.