Lucy Wheeler1 Comment

Marathon Mind Games

Lucy Wheeler1 Comment
Marathon Mind Games

Do you ever do that thing where you have an idea about something you'd like to achieve and promptly follow it up with, I could never do that. Recently I've been having a bit of trouble jeopardising my own dreams and so I thought I'd share how I'm dealing with it.

Self-doubt kills more dreams than failure ever will


I'm currently training for a marathon and that involves some seriously long running. In addition to training my body I'm also training my mind to get on board with what I'm doing. Recently when I've been in the middle of a session, or even before a session I've wanted to stop. I wasn't injured and had no serious problems but I kept thinking about quitting. On Sunday I had a race and when I woke up on the morning of the race I seriously thought about not going. I hadn't slept well and I checked the forecast, it said rain and I instantly thought about not going. I have never had this in my life before. I've never wanted to quit.

Similarly when I was doing my 16M the other day my thought pattern went like this: this is hard, I'm not enjoying this anymore, why did I agree to do this, I got a place way too late I haven't done enough training, I was stupid to think I could do this, why did I think I could do this, this hurts, this hurts a lot more than I thought it would, why am I even doing this, I don't even like running.

This is all untrue, of course I like running! It's just I get this every now and again, these thoughts go round and round in my head until I feel like shouting out loud, "what do you mean you can't do this, YOU ARE DOING THIS!!!" I am marathon training, I am doing it. Okay admittedly not all of my sessions are going exactly to the letter of the plan and I am not eating perfectly - a marathon around Easter with all of the mini eggs makes this very difficult - but I am doing my best. I'm working long hours in a tough job with a long commute. No I'm not raising a family at the same time (I have no idea how people train for a marathon and raise a family) but I'm doing my best and do you know what, my best is good enough. And so is yours! I used to do this thing when I was nervous at work, based on a TV show I used to watch. The main character was a feisty female lawyer called Martha Costello (I'm a lawyer for the day job) and before I do things at work which scare me I repeat in my head. "I am Martha Costello" Well running is no different I need to channel my inner Dame Kelly Holmes, Nell McAndrew or Alistair Brownlee. They have the world watching them when they run and have that huge additional pressure. The only person the self-doubt is crippling at the moment is me. I'm jeopardising my own race and it's going to stop, now.

From now on my mantra is "I can do this, I will do this, I AM DOING THIS!" Every time I have a negative thought I'm now slamming it down with 3 positive thoughts, reciting the Costello mantra helps. The mind is a surprisingly powerful tool. My mind is particularly stubborn and up until recently that's been working against me but there are still over 5 weeks until the marathon and there's not a chance that I'm going to let myself ruin the opportunity of a lifetime. I'm doing this race and I'm doing it well!

I set off on Tuesday morning for my tempo session with heavy legs and not that much optimism if I'm honest. My aim was to do 2 x 5k laps and beat myself on the second lap. It was a great opportunity to practice my new cheerleader mentality and boy did I need it. By 4.5 miles my knees were screaming and although a thought did creep in - is this really a good idea to keep going when it hurts so much - I pushed it out and threw myself into the music on my iPod with regular reminders of keep pushing, keep pushing. For tempo running I tend to get to the point where it's uncomfortable and then try and stay there. It worked! I beat myself by 23 seconds. Until next week! My motivation and determination are back, I'm not sure where they went but London, watch out, I'm coming for you!

The road to success is always under construction. Arnold Palmer

If you're feeling the same thoughts or have any tips for how you become your own cheerleader I'd love to hear them. Drop me a comment below and I'll share them on social too. Lucy x