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May 08, 2014

Don’t Let These Common Fears Stop You From Setting A Goal and Following Through!

Written by Dena Evans

For all the athletes we see sign up for races, set goals, follow through with their training and succeed, there are still others who are held back from taking the all important first step.  Often, what prevents these individuals are fears that may not be well founded. Don’t let these common fears stand in your way!

 

I wasn’t an athlete growing up

Mildly traumatic memories of being the last one picked on the playground or sitting on the bench in youth soccer might sting, and leave runners with a sense that they were not cut out for sports.  This is not an uncommon road to running.  Many competitive runners turned to the sport after realizing their gifts lay elsewhere from ball sports or team games.  Furthermore, the fable of the tortoise and the hare is seared into our memory for a reason.  Persistence is an indispensable character trait for distance running.  Many athletic people with tons of talent have fallen short of their goals as well.  Talent and ability aren’t much without persistence.  If you already have that grit, you have the biggest variable already on board.

 

I don’t look like a runner

A generation ago, the demographics of runners were much more homogenous.  There were far fewer opportunities for new runners and those who endeavored just to complete the task.  This is no longer the case.  While Olympians might be somewhat birds of a feather in terms of body types, the millions of others completing races in the US and around the world tell us otherwise.  The important thing to focus on is what your body can do rather than what it looks like.  You are a functional device, and perhaps a more amazingly functional device than you could ever imagine.  Focus on what you can do, and you might even surprise yourself.

 

I’ve never even run one mile straight

At one point, neither had any of us! Running is a rewarding pursuit for many reasons, but a huge one is that it provides countless opportunities for intermediate goals along your road to your big race.  Running is about a positive mindset, and that confidence is a big factor.  If you progress sensibly, what seemed long will eventually seem mundane.  Integrating walking breaks between a few minutes of running at a time is one time honored way to progress to a longer distance.  What was once 1 minute of running alternating with four minutes of walking can become 2 run / 3 walk, 3 run / 2 walk, and 4 run, 1 walk before you know it. Although it might take a little while, if you make incremental progress and give yourself proper recovery, you will eventually make it.  You just need the courage to try.

 

Nobody I know runs

If it was that easy, everyone would be doing it, right?  Running toward an endurance goal is not easy, but when you follow through and complete your goal, you set an invaluable example for family members or friends who may have thought you crazy for even trying.  Running can be a great social activity if you have others to run with, and if you think you might enjoy that, try your local running store.  Many stores have weekly informal training runs which fit well into your runcoach schedule.  Meeting others training for a big goal can help you feel as though you aren’t alone with your body’s quirks, nervousness, or occasionally wavering confidence.  Likewise, if you are the only one in the house who runs, flip the script and consider not how little people share your experience, but how you can share it with them.  Encouraging others to run with you makes you accountable for how your training is going and can often help spur an athlete to take greater ownership over the road to success.  More importantly, it can often make a crucial difference for a loved one who could benefit from improved fitness.

 

In short, none of us look or feel that great in the 25th mile of a marathon.  After 26.2, the feeling of elation and the amazement about what the human body can accomplish wash over us in a much more indelible way and the memory of the difficult 25th mile begins to recede.  When we focus on what we can do, what we can accomplish, what we have the ability to accomplish based on our insides rather than our outsides, we get farther.  Take a chance on yourself and seize the opportunity to enjoy a finishing feeling of your very own.

 

 

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