As runners busily prepare for upcoming events such as Adelaide’s City Bay Fun Run, the Melbourne Marathon festival and the New York City Marathon, I thought I would shed some light on a mental approach that has helped me to get the most out of running to this point and that can facilitate anyone to achieve their best!
At about this time last year, I was fortunate to have someone place a novel in my lap that happened to catch my attention. I’m not usually one to finish a book. I tend to read a few pages, get back to it a few months later, then have to re-read those pages… and so the pattern goes. This particular text, titled ‘Sport is life, Life is sport’ intrigued me partly because it was co-written by Paul Roos and his wife Tami but also because I had an inkling from the first few pages that I would learn some valuable life lessons - I did.
‘The opportunities that may change our life for the better are there, waiting for us, either as a result of our hard work or of being in the right place at the right time. Before we can act upon them, we have to be receptive enough to realize that they are there. And when we do, we have to seize them. I realize that many of the events that occur do not occur by chance. I generally believe that if you go through life with your eyes open there are signposts along the way that will direct you through the journey that is your life.’ - Paul Roos.
This was one of many paragraphs that struck a chord in me and upon completing this novel, I was left with a comforting sense that things in life ‘happen for a reason’ and important lessons can be drawn from every experience.
As you work towards your next running (or other) goal, whether it is to stop the clock at a particular time, complete a given distance, raise a certain amount for charity etc. recognise what has led you to that point and where the path may lead you. The seed was planted to run my first marathon race during a discussion with Shaun Creighton and Rob De Castella in Canberra at Deek’s grain-free bakery. I had recently missed out on World Cross-country selection and my coach, Adam Didyk entered me in a race at the last-minute for a positive ‘lift’. What seemed like a setback at the time ended up leading me to my first marathon in 2012; a positive outcome after all.
Having a goal is crucial and is the driving force behind your motivation to don the joggers for a training run, to reluctantly roll your buttock over a tennis ball to release a tight muscle or to gulp down a gooey gel for a critical energy boost. Realise however that the journey towards that goal forms a significant part of your overall experience and can teach you valuable lessons to help you deal with every aspect of life. Going into an event with this mind-set and perspective of the ‘bigger picture’ helps me to settle my nerves and enjoy the moment. I remind myself that I have already gained so much from the process of getting to the start line and that now I have the opportunity to add something positive to that.
Confidence comes from working hard to prepare yourself as best as you can for the upcoming event. When I am able to achieve this, I toe the line knowing that as long as I demonstrate mental discipline, be smart and remain calm, my training and preparation will take care of the physical side. It is important to realise that expected and un-expected challenges may present themselves in the lead up to race day such as dealing with injury, difficulties in achieving work-life-training balance etc. but try to see all of these as key learnings that will better equip you for the future. Focusing on what you HAVE done to prepare yourself will enable you to confidently embrace the opportunity to achieve a result you will be proud of on race day!
In two weeks I look forward to supporting thousands of runners as they make their way from King William street to the Bay! Along with my training squad Team Tempo, I also help to raise important funds for a cause that took my Nana’s life before I was able to meet her. Last year I became an ambassador for the Jodi Lee Foundation, which aims to prevent bowel cancer through screening and early detection. If you have the chance, please visit my fundraising page to learn how you can support this cause:
Thanks for reading. I’ll hopefully see you at Colley Reserve in a couple of weeks or at the next Fun Run!