Mindset is everything

2 min read

During my marathon training, I enlisted the help of mindset coach, Duncan Foster, of DSF Coaching.

I was soon to discover that mindset is everything.

When you are entrenched inside a marathon training block, it is easy to develop a tunnel vision towards the single goal. This sometimes can make it more difficult to see things from another’s perspective.

I needed a fresh pair of eyes; from the outside looking in. An impartial sounding board; to listen. Someone to pose the right questions, that would prompt further reflection.

Ultimately, this would lead to brainstorming, trouble shooting and creatively reaching a solution.

Problem

  • I struggled with the uncertainty of event postponement.
  • The vision of my ‘race day’ was evolving and changing on a day to day basis.
  • Lockdown and pregnancy added extra layers of complexity and difficulty to the marathon training.
  • The pregnancy made it more difficult to involve my family in the marathon training.
  • The training was more intense than the previous block; more mentally and physically demanding.
  • Juggling the need for my best performance – I trained for a 3:15 marathon.
  • I was keen to give my absolute best to training & event day. Nothing short of achieving this would suffice.
  • Not completing the full 18 training plan would be deemed as a failure to myself.​
  • I was deeply focused within the marathon training bubble.

Process

  • The first step is awareness – recognising and noting the things you do when you run, both when running well and when it get tougher. 
  • I had to reassess what was truly important to me.
  • Define reasons for running the marathon.
  • Find the solution that is the least compromise desired but as much that is needed.
  • I needed to embrace flexibility, both in my training plan and race day.
  • I had to go through a grieving process of the original ‘event day’.
  • Letting go of those expectations and plans.
  • Find a way to give the best account of myself, in a sustainable way.
Defining my reasons for running a marathon and incorporating them into race day

Solution

  • I switched my training long runs to a Friday evening, so that I could free up my weekend’s for more family time.
  • I achieved a 100km peak training week, which was a major milestone of the plan. It was my greatest running achievement and went along way to satisfying the need to be my best.
  • I also wanted to know if I could achieve a sub 90 half marathon. Not knowing would have been difficult. So I asked the question;
  • The cumulative fatigue from marathon training meant the sub 90 half marathon was beyond me on the day, but I am content in that I asked the question and now know the answer.
  • Having both the 100km and sub 90 half attempt crossed off the list, I was more open to the idea of reducing the training plan and being flexible.
  • I cut three weeks from training plan – reducing down from 18 weeks to 15 in total. After the sub 90 half marathon, I started a 3 week tapering phase.
  • After initially, considering a garden marathon, I knew I would not be satisfied with a 5 hours + time, based on short and circular course.
  • I settled on a undulating 1 mile looped course, starting and finishing at my front door. This meant I could try my best.
  • Involving my family in the race day experience was an essential requirement because this enriched my previous marathon.
  • After clearly defining my reasons of running (BOY, GRACE, LEGACY, BEST, NHS & COMMUNITY) – I used these on race day by writing each reason on the side of my gels.
  • The outcome of being adaptable is a better solution…
  • …a unique and personal marathon experience that allows it to be shared with my family, without risking their health, whilst honoring my training to see what my best looks like.

In the end, I found that my best meant, being the best human and parent I could be, not just the best athlete.

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