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Running Procrastination: This is What Stops Runners from Training for Their First Marathon

Running Procrastination: This is What Stops Runners from Training for Their First Marathon

So you’ve decided that you’d like to run a marathon…at some point, at some time. But it hasn’t happened yet.

You can’t seem to get the race off your mind. Each year, the idea arises, and you entertain it for a short amount of time. Then you talk yourself out of it, listing a series of reasons why the goal is absolutely impossible.

If you’ve been dreaming of crossing the finish line for a while, here’s what may be preventing you from forging ahead with your marathon training.

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1. The Distance is Intimidating

Yes, it’s terrifying: 26.2 miles. You get exhausted just thinking about the distance. If you’ve never run a 5 km race, a 10 km race or a half marathon, the full marathon is most likely too big of a jump. But if you do have those miles under your belt, there is probably something else stopping you from starting your training today: fear. Part of you jumps at the idea of signing up for the next marathon, but another part of you – a much quieter, yet more powerful part of you – whispers “NO, Don’t do it. It’s not possible. You can’t run that far. You’ll never be able to do it.” Then, fear and insecurity keep you frozen in your tracks. What if you decided that running a marathon might be possible? What if you gave yourself some credit for past distances that you have endured? If you considered these possibilities, your ability to complete the distance might not seem quite as daunting.

Once you start believing that mastering a marathon is possible, everything else will fall into place. At that point, you can begin thinking about what enabled you to achieve your past long distance runs. Was it a supportive running buddy who ran by your side? An upbeat 130 BPM soundtrack? Running on a scenic trail? There are ways to make your workouts easier to conquer. It may mean training with a group, rewarding yourself with a protein shake after your run, or going for a regular massage to relieve muscle tightness. When you enjoy your running experience, the longer distances will be less overwhelming.

2. There’s No Time

You’re busy. You’ve got work, commitments, countless priorities and barely any time for yourself. It may not seem like the right time for you to run a marathon: you may be getting married, moving, raising a child or working long hours. Yet it also could be exactly the right time for you to lace up and hit the pavement. If running a marathon is something you can’t shake, it may be time to change your belief that there’s no time for running. If you’re ready to commit to making running a priority, you WILL make time for it, no matter how many daily meetings you have or how many e-mails flood your inbox.

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After you’ve made up your mind, there are little things you can do to adjust your schedule and make time for training. You can trade up your night out for a run with a friend, go to bed early and get up for morning runs, turn lunchtime into a workout, or hit the gym on your way home from work. Training for a marathon requires some consideration about how you will organize your time to fit in three to six runs each week; but it doesn’t mean overhauling all of your other commitments. Once you decide that running your marathon is mandatory and not optional, time will not be a barrier.

3. Injury Is a Possibility

There’s a chance that you will injure yourself when you are training for a marathon… but if fear of injury is preventing you from taking your next step, it may pay to ask yourself, “Am I focusing on what may go wrong?” There’s a certain amount of risk involved with every new activity you take on. It’s up to you to measure the risk, learn how to minimize the risk, and decide whether or not you want to go ahead full-force. If you decide to take on a marathon, you’ll have to learn how to be okay with the aches and pains that come with the journey. There will be mornings when you have to rest instead of run. There will be weeks when your joints may hurt. Injury could happen… but it’s up to you to decide how much time you spend worrying about it.

Once you shift your focus from the “what if’s” to the “what’s happening”, you can educate yourself on how to prevent injury and recognize warning signs so you stay healthy. You can learn about the most common injuries that runners experience (shin splints, muscle pulls, runner’s knee, ankle sprains…), and the proper treatment (icing, stretching exercises, rest…). You can incorporate strength training into your workouts, allow time for recovery from long runs, correct your form and make a commitment that you will not push through an injury. At the end of the day, if you want to get running, get informed and then let go of your fear of getting hurt.

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4. Marathons are Only for Serious Runners

Running burns, it’s hard, and everyone seems so much better at it than you, right?  Chances are, you’ve had repeated qualms about your running ability… to the point where you’ve told yourself and others “I am not a runner,” “I don’t have a runner’s body” or “Running is just not my thing”.  News flash: you are a runner if you think like one. Thinking like a runner means telling yourself, “I can get through this workout.” It means saying, “I know I can do this if I commit to it.” Thinking like a runner means adjusting your thinking ever so slightly so you are instead thinking, “I may not be a professional runner, but that won’t stop me from RUNNING!”

Besides, when you train for a marathon over 15-20 weeks, your body gradually changes through endurance, speed, strength and tapering. Over time, your body can take on more, and your runs become easier as you get into race shape. Try it: If it hurts to run three miles, try running three miles every day for one week straight. You are guaranteed to feel a difference once the week is over. As you find your running rhythm, you will begin to enjoy running more and more. You will find that running helps you let off steam and feel hugely accomplished. You may even start to look forward to early morning wake-ups, sore muscles, and those long, slow distances. You may not feel like a runner just yet, but by the time you are through with your training, you WILL BE ONE.

Training for a marathon requires an unbelievable amount of mental and physical energy and dedication. If you’re wrestling with your decision to run a marathon, you may want to re-examine your thinking… it may in fact be the only thing holding you back.

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Featured photo credit: Female runner lacing sport shoes before training/ Dirima via shutterstock.com

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Last Updated on January 21, 2020

The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

Creating a vision for your life might seem like a frivolous, fantastical waste of time, but it’s not: creating a compelling vision of the life you want is actually one of the most effective strategies for achieving the life of your dreams. Perhaps the best way to look at the concept of a life vision is as a compass to help guide you to take the best actions and make the right choices that help propel you toward your best life.

your vision of where or who you want to be is the greatest asset you have

    Why You Need a Vision

    Experts and life success stories support the idea that with a vision in mind, you are more likely to succeed far beyond what you could otherwise achieve without a clear vision. Think of crafting your life vision as mapping a path to your personal and professional dreams. Life satisfaction and personal happiness are within reach. The harsh reality is that if you don’t develop your own vision, you’ll allow other people and circumstances to direct the course of your life.

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    How to Create Your Life Vision

    Don’t expect a clear and well-defined vision overnight—envisioning your life and determining the course you will follow requires time, and reflection. You need to cultivate vision and perspective, and you also need to apply logic and planning for the practical application of your vision. Your best vision blossoms from your dreams, hopes, and aspirations. It will resonate with your values and ideals, and will generate energy and enthusiasm to help strengthen your commitment to explore the possibilities of your life.

    What Do You Want?

    The question sounds deceptively simple, but it’s often the most difficult to answer. Allowing yourself to explore your deepest desires can be very frightening. You may also not think you have the time to consider something as fanciful as what you want out of life, but it’s important to remind yourself that a life of fulfillment does not usually happen by chance, but by design.

    It’s helpful to ask some thought-provoking questions to help you discover the possibilities of what you want out of life. Consider every aspect of your life, personal and professional, tangible and intangible. Contemplate all the important areas, family and friends, career and success, health and quality of life, spiritual connection and personal growth, and don’t forget about fun and enjoyment.

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    Some tips to guide you:

    • Remember to ask why you want certain things
    • Think about what you want, not on what you don’t want.
    • Give yourself permission to dream.
    • Be creative. Consider ideas that you never thought possible.
    • Focus on your wishes, not what others expect of you.

    Some questions to start your exploration:

    • What really matters to you in life? Not what should matter, what does matter.
    • What would you like to have more of in your life?
    • Set aside money for a moment; what do you want in your career?
    • What are your secret passions and dreams?
    • What would bring more joy and happiness into your life?
    • What do you want your relationships to be like?
    • What qualities would you like to develop?
    • What are your values? What issues do you care about?
    • What are your talents? What’s special about you?
    • What would you most like to accomplish?
    • What would legacy would you like to leave behind?

    It may be helpful to write your thoughts down in a journal or creative vision board if you’re the creative type. Add your own questions, and ask others what they want out of life. Relax and make this exercise fun. You may want to set your answers aside for a while and come back to them later to see if any have changed or if you have anything to add.

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    What Would Your Best Life Look Like?

    Describe your ideal life in detail. Allow yourself to dream and imagine, and create a vivid picture. If you can’t visualize a picture, focus on how your best life would feel. If you find it difficult to envision your life 20 or 30 years from now, start with five years—even a few years into the future will give you a place to start. What you see may surprise you. Set aside preconceived notions. This is your chance to dream and fantasize.

    A few prompts to get you started:

    • What will you have accomplished already?
    • How will you feel about yourself?
    • What kind of people are in your life? How do you feel about them?
    • What does your ideal day look like?
    • Where are you? Where do you live? Think specifics, what city, state, or country, type of community, house or an apartment, style and atmosphere.
    • What would you be doing?
    • Are you with another person, a group of people, or are you by yourself?
    • How are you dressed?
    • What’s your state of mind? Happy or sad? Contented or frustrated?
    • What does your physical body look like? How do you feel about that?
    • Does your best life make you smile and make your heart sing? If it doesn’t, dig deeper, dream bigger.

    It’s important to focus on the result, or at least a way-point in your life. Don’t think about the process for getting there yet—that’s the next stepGive yourself permission to revisit this vision every day, even if only for a few minutes. Keep your vision alive and in the front of your mind.

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    Plan Backwards

    It may sound counter-intuitive to plan backwards rather than forwards, but when you’re planning your life from the end result, it’s often more useful to consider the last step and work your way back to the first. This is actually a valuable and practical strategy for making your vision a reality.

    • What’s the last thing that would’ve had to happen to achieve your best life?
    • What’s the most important choice you would’ve had to make?
    • What would you have needed to learn along the way?
    • What important actions would you have had to take?
    • What beliefs would you have needed to change?
    • What habits or behaviors would you have had to cultivate?
    • What type of support would you have had to enlist?
    • How long will it have taken you to realize your best life?
    • What steps or milestones would you have needed to reach along the way?

    Now it’s time to think about your first step, and the next step after that. Ponder the gap between where you are now and where you want to be in the future. It may seem impossible, but it’s quite achievable if you take it step-by-step.

    It’s important to revisit this vision from time to time. Don’t be surprised if your answers to the questions, your technicolor vision, and the resulting plans change. That can actually be a very good thing; as you change in unforeseeable ways, the best life you envision will change as well. For now, it’s important to use the process, create your vision, and take the first step towards making that vision a reality.

    Featured photo credit: Matt Noble via unsplash.com

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