I’ve learned a lot of really great lessons from running. Things like learning to push myself, learning to rest properly, learning to trust people and learning to have discipline. The biggest lesson I’ve learned however, is learning to listen to the right voices, and ignore the wrong ones. For the most part, people in my life are really supportive about my running, and excited about my marathon training. Over the past year, and especially since I started talking about running a marathon, there have been a few negative comments; which I had expected but wasn’t entirely prepared for. But I realised, there will ALWAYS be naysayers and negative people hanging around. Sure even Mo Farah was slated for running the London Marathon last year by one of the commentators. He kept saying things like ‘Mo doesn’t belong in a marathon, he should just go home, no one wants him here’ and THIS about an Olympic Gold Medalist! A man who has smashed running records left, right and center! An athlete who wanted to challenge himself and do something new. A man whose running is his job! Hearing that commentator rain down derision and cynicism on Mo Farah during the marathon (in which he smashed yet another record!) showed me that no one is safe from negativity and naysayers. There will always be people who think it’s ok to put you down and tell you to go home; that you’re too slow, fat, unfit etc to run. All of which I’ve had said to me!
So I decided it’s up to me to choose which voice to listen to. You see, I have a voice inside me saying ‘I want to run! I CAN run! Let’s do this!”. So I choose to listen to THAT voice and the voices of the people around me saying ‘You can DO this!”. Because if there’s one thing I’ve learned from running…the voice you listen to shapes the reality you live in!
Now, I don’t know about you but I find the negative voices easier to listen to because they feel more like the truth. The things they say sound a lot like things I tell myself. It takes real effort to ignore those voices (from outside OR from within) and to focus instead on the positive. I don’t always manage to ignore those negative thoughts or words but I’m a lot better at it now than I was before I started running. And that has done wonders for my self-esteem, my confidence, my determination and my joy in running.
And that, my friends, is a reality I am happy to live in!