Sometimes, it’s easy to feel like your goal is too far away, that you’ll never achieve it, so why bother starting? The goal of losing 3 stone, running your first 10k or even getting back to full health after being unwell can often seem like unattainable dreams. Well, as they say, Rome wasn’t built in a day! Paula Radcliffe, Mo Farrah and many other great athletes didn’t just wake up one day and run an incredibly speedy marathon. At some point, they decided to go for their first run and dare we say it, they probably looked just like us! Panting a lot, feeling very out of breath a lot quicker than we would like and they probably felt a tad achey the next day too. But, they will have taken away a sense of achievement that they went for a run, they successfully ran a mile or two. So they went for a second run, and a third run and a fourth, fifth, sixth and all the hundreds of runs after that. Each time they ran, they’re bodies will have got fitter and stronger so they could go further and faster until eventually we’re all watching them on the TV, sprinting down the home straight in the Olympics. Everyone has to start somewhere. What got them through all of those runs when they were hard or they felt tired? Most likely that they could look back at that first run and see how far they had come, that they were progressing, and that if they kept going, they could run as far and as fast as they wanted to.
Focussing on your progress is key. It’s always too easy to look at how far you’ve got left to go rather than how far you’ve come already. Break your overall goal down into smaller goals. You’ll be able to give yourself a pat on the back more often and start to enjoy what you’re doing rather than resenting that you “haven’t quite finished it yet”.
If you’d like to run 10k, start by running a few kilometres and allow yourself to have a rest or two in the middle if you feel out of breath rather than stopping all together. You can gradually start to reduce the amount of rests, increase the distance and try to beat your time until you get to 10k.
Progress is key, because progress is the only way that you’ll get to the end goal. It’s not always worth focussing on the overall prize when it’s the little wins along the way that will get you there. The more you feel like you’re achieving and the more you can see that you’re progressing, the less likely you’ll be to feel disheartened, de-motivated or think about quitting. And remember what they say –
“When you think about quitting, think about why you started”