When it comes to running, the physical training is important, of course.
Getting out there, following your training schedule and putting in the miles is essential.
But sometimes, in fact I would say oftentimes, you need more than that to keep on going and get yourself over the finish line.
I know you’ve heard it before, so you know what I am going to say – Running is a mental game! Cliche, it may be – but still so true.
If you don’t have your head in the game, you are not going to be a runner for long.
As exhilarating and fun as running can be, it can also be a lot of hard work. There are many days when running is not fun. Training days when you just don’t want to get out of bed. Races where your feet hurt and your muscles ache and you don’t think that you have any more to give.
The only thing that gets you through these moments is your mind.
Now there are lots of ways to tap into the grit and determination you need to overrule your brain when it is screaming to you “STOP”!!! But here is the one that I find to be really effective and super easy to implement.
Are you ready?
It’s knowing your why.
Simple, I know, but the best way that I know to make sure that you achieve whatever goal you set out to accomplish is to have a really compelling reason. To have a why that you love.
You need something to motivate you when the going gets tough, because it invariably will.
Everything worth achieving in life takes work, and will inevitably involve challenges and obstacles to overcome. Running is no exception. So you need to have a great reason to make pushing through all that hard stuff worthwhile.
The reason most people give up is not because they can’t do it but because they don’t have a compelling enough reason to keep going when things get difficult. They don’t have that reason that makes the temporary pain worth the future pay off.
I promise you knowing your why is one of the biggest keys to success. And not knowing your why is one of the biggest reasons for failure.
It seems crazy that something so simple could make such a big difference, but it does. I have seen it time and time again.
So, it would make sense to take a few minutes to really think about this, right? It’s not hard. It doesn’t take much effort, but the rewards are huge. A no brainer.
Here are a few questions to help get you thinking and crafting that compelling reason of your own.
Before you begin remember, when you decide on your WHY you want to make it a good one. It needs to be personal and relevant to you and it needs to be emotive if it is going to work. Doing this for someone else is not going to cut it. It needs to be your why.
Why did you begin running?
Perhaps it was to get healthy, lose weight, win a bet, challenge yourself or to raise funds. Cast your mind back and tap into what got you into this running game.
Why are you running right now?
If you have been running for a while check in with yourself to see if your original WHY still stands. It is likely to have evolved over time and you want to make sure that it is still relevant today.
What will keep you running in the future?
What is it that will inspire you to get up and do this running thing all over again, and again?
When you have thought about that, get out a piece of paper and write your compelling reason down. Writing it down is so much more powerful than thinking about it.
And once you have your reason, here is one last little trick that really helps me when the going gets tough. Choose a short mantra or phrase or even a song that relates to your WHY and pull it out whenever you need that little bit of extra momentum to keep going.
I don’t know why, but my mantra comes from Winnie the Pooh – when Pooh got stuck in Rabbits front door and all the crew had to band together to pull him out with a huge HEAVE – HO. That Heave – Ho has got me up many a hill and through many tired kilometres. It makes me smile, it reminds me of my sons when they were young and it helps me tap into one of my biggest WHY’s – being an example of what is possible to myself and to others.
So that’s my why, what’s yours?
Georgia Bamber is a successful life coach and health advocate, as well as a long time endurance runner. Through private coaching and courses, she teaches mindset tools and techniques to help people tap into their potential and reach their goals.