My good pal Jon was saying all of the right things. All of the things that I had told myself before when going through my first hilly marathon. All of the things I’d been through in my first long distance triathlon. All of the things I had been through, and got through in previous endurance style events. Yet, I still hit that wall that questioned “can I do this?”
I slogged for about a kilometre or two. I was trying to turn my brain around. Yes, I hurt. Yes it was tough. But? But I did it. I broke the back of the little annoying voice in my head. I picked up the pace. I picked up the 50 or so metres that I was behind my pals and we pushed on together.
You’ve got to train your brain. You’ve got to understand that some days, you will get it wrong. Some days, you will also get it right. You’ve got to learn to focus on what’s in front of you, not what’s behind you. You’ve got to see the task at hand.
It’s how you deal with the situation. How you turn that nay saying voice around and make a positive. It’s how you use that energy to get the job done.
It’s how you finish the race.
I realise this might have been quite useful encouragement for those of you that just completed their brighton half marathon. So my advice to you?
Relax. Enjoy the time after a big race. But get planning. Get planning for the next one. Remind yourself how far you have come. What you have achieved. And, more importantly, what you can still achieve.
Focus on you. Focus on your mind.
One of the tricks of endurance events is knowing how to work your brain.
In the lead up to the event, it’s so easy to question your training; am I fit enough? Did I train according to plan? Was it the right plan? Could I have done things differently?
It’s a question EVERY. SINGLE. athlete will have asked themselves. Whether if it was relating to their first ever 5k, their first marathon. Their first triathlon. Their first Ironman. It doesn’t matter, the questions still come up. And relating to this weekend, it was many people’s first half marathons that pushed those buttons and asked those questions.
We all try to train as much as we can. Life does get in the way. And you know what? That’s ok!
But what we don’t focus enough energy on is our mental ability to focus on those very questions:
Am I fit enough? Did I train according to plan? Was it the right plan? Could I have done things differently?
You don’t notice it for the first ten miles. But those last 3 or 13, it doesn’t matter. All physical training goes out the window. Well, not really, that helps you get that far, but it’s your mental state that gets you over the line. Do you push yourself enough mentally in training, to get the job done?
It’s the ability to change the negative voices; that is hard. My feet hurt. My legs hurt. I’ve not drank enough. Why am I doing this. I can’t finish this.
Running with my good pals Jon and Leigh a couple weekends ago at a tough, muddy, hilly, slippy event, I definitely went through this patch.