by Kelsey Davidson
We runners are a special breed. We look forward to our alarms going off on the weekends. We run past our house just to make up the missing 300 metres on our training watch. We cycle through shoes quicker than some of the canned goods in our pantry.
We are a special breed because we have trained our minds to believe we can do the impossible. It might be an ultra marathon or a fun mud run. We sign up, we train and we push through it all to cross that finish line.
This mindset of seeing the impossible becoming the possible started when we chose to become runners. Maybe we experienced a successful outcome on a training run or at a race. Then, it became contagious: “If I can do 5K, I can do 10K. If I can do 10K, I can do a 6K mud run. If I can do a 6K mud run, I’m sure I could do a 10K mud run, or even a half marathon. If I can do a half marathon, I can do a full. I’ve done a full and really an ultra is only 8K more…”
We justify the distances, the training and the commitment because we believe we can. During the moment in our life where we saw the impossible become possible, we flicked the switch and gained the runner’s mindset.
Now, I don’t want to fool you. The flick of the switch doesn’t happen without sweat, tears, loss of toenails, turning down patio beers, and more compromises. It comes with determination. It comes with commitment. It comes with trusting the training plan.
In the beginning, it’s hard to see the big picture. That’s why I suggest mantras and visualization to enhance your daily efforts as a runner, parent, business professional and more. A few of my favourite mantras are “I’m doing this,” “Forward is forward” and “I don’t stop when I’m tired, I stop when I’m done.”
Visualizing with the intent to finish a race or a project can also be effective. Here are a couple of pointers on visualization:
- Visualize your race before you commit to it. Can you see yourself doing it? Then go ahead and sign up. If not, then reach out and see what other tools you need to get there.
- Imagine your finish line, anytime and anywhere. This may be during yoga or meditation, at a strength training workout or while you’re making dinner. Any opportunity to visualize the final few steps of your race will help it come to fruition.
- Visualize the little details of your finish line—for example, the clothes you’ll be wearing, the people who will be there and the things you’ll hear. Include every emotion and sense that you can.
- During a training run, visualize the finish you desire for that run. Picture yourself reaching the top of the hill, completing the final lap or arriving at your vehicle at the end of the run. You’ll feel even greater satisfaction when you physically get there.
The strategies I’m describing are useful tools for newbie and veteran runners alike. They are the tools that create our strong, determined mindset. They are the tools to help us cross the finish line. They are the tools that make us special.
Kelsey Davidson is a certified life coach, experienced fitness professional and founder of her own consulting practice called Alive Fitness and Wellness. (Bio photo: Jenifer Sander Photography).