Lessons learned from the marathon

Dear Brooke,
My impossible goal is to be a coach and to coach people through running. Running is a fantastic metaphor for life and has been life changing for me since I started 5 years ago. I posted here a couple of months ago about committing to races for my club and it made a huge difference to my performance.
Last weekend my sister and I went to Paris (from the UK) to run the marathon there. We discussed what we learned from the race over dinner afterwards and I wanted to share it here. I’m putting all this learning in to a course I am creating for people who want to improve their confidence using running as a means to do this. Running a marathon has valuable lessons for life and here is what I learned, on this occasion.

– That previous marathon performance / failures do not need to inform this effort. What I did in the past does not need to be what I do in the future. At mile 20 I recalled previous mile 20s and then told my brain that this was a new moment, a new and different marathon and opportunity and not the same as previous ones.
– Failure is a really important part of progress.
– That end goals need breaking down in to steps, and all those steps go together to create the end result. A marathon is roughly 40,000 steps. Think of all the work that goes in to that!
– That planning is crucial and vital. From plans for the larger picture to the smallest distances. Plan the marathon; the training, the nutrition, the mid-race fuelling, the rest, the gym work, the transport, the accommodation, the kit, the shoes, the money. Plan each mile; running at 11:30 pace, running at 11:00 pace, walking half a kilometer, running half a kilometer. Plan it all. Then act on that plan (April homework, right?!)
– That whether we’re running or walking we’re still moving forwards towards the finish line.
– That my brain wants me to stop because it hurts and is difficult, but I could change my thoughts to “yes it hurts and it won’t always.” “I going to keep moving forwards in order to reach the finish”
– That if I keep moving the pain lessens. If I keep stopping that’s when it really hurts.
– That the correct resources for the job will see us through to the end. Adequate and appropriate nutrition and hydration, for example, to see me through the journey.
– Reviewing and appraising to see lessons learned helps progress. This can be done throughout the journey, and at the end in order to help us stay on track to reach the finish line.
– Remember the end goal and remain focussed
– Visualising crossing the finish line is a powerful way to get me there. If I’ve been there in my imagination I can go there with my body!
– Finish strong. The heart and mind can take over from the body when the body is tired and achy after miles and hours on the road. The heart never tires. It beats and pumps relentless, faithfully and reliably.
– With rest and strengthening exercises, injuries and pain can be overcome.
– That a medal is great motivation!

This is the third time I’ve run a marathon and I didn’t achieve my other goal of running this marathon in 4.5hrs, as I have wanted to every time. But do you think I feel gutted? No way! I feel excited because I get the opportunity to try different and brand new ways of being successful. Using the Model and running together really helps me to create new thoughts that I can practice and embody. I’m already planning my next marathon in Athens in November, and using April’s homework to focus my creativity and massive action in to my new course.

Jo x