Solitary Suffering

I’m not sure what it really is but there is something about suffering through exercise, alone, in the wet, dark and cold weather that really resonates within me. It feels like a bigger accomplishment, to want to go out, alone, into horrible weather conditions to perform the solitary function of running. When I zoom out on my previous life and try to reconcile how I feel about exercise now compared to how dismissive I was of it in the past, I struggle to recognise that person.

Next weekend I am running another half marathon (3rd one) in Clontarf, Dublin and up to this point in training, I had maxed out at about 7.5 miles. Even though I have accomplished this distance before, there always seems to be doubts in my running mind. I think this is down to the reality of the training and conditioning you have put in up to this point. There is no hiding from your own truths – you have either put the work in or you haven’t.

For every race that I enter I have to get myself in training to the point, mainly measured by distance covered, comfort level getting there and recovery time, where I believe the race is doable. That point was this morning, as I was out there running 10 miles alone in the dark, wet and windy conditions we have today.

Many people would have looked out the window this morning and swiftly turned away to find a cosy corner (and fair play to them too, god bless your sanity) but I never even looked out this morning. I was committed to getting it done, regardless of anything. When I woke up, I did my usual 10 minutes meditation but it ended up being a visualisation as my mind wandered into thinking about this training run. I mentally ran each loop in my mind, slowly and methodically, and could see myself at the end having completed it. I could actually nearly feel what it was like too.

I believe the mind has a huge bearing on our wellbeing and especially when it comes to our limiting beliefs around what you perceive as possible or not. Visualisation is an amazing tool that you can use to talk to your sub-conscious brain, to tell it that what you are about to do is not only possible but also enjoyable. Having completed the run this morning, I had a really strong sense that I was finishing it for the 2nd time this morning, that’s how strong visualisation can help you achieve virtually anything in your life, let alone a 10 mile run in the rain.

Get out there and check it out for yourself.

Yours in health and happiness,