Whose voice are you going to listen to?

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!

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6 responses to “Whose voice are you going to listen to?

  1. Gerry Murphy

    Are they naysayers or just people saying things which you do not wish to hear? Offering constructive, helpful advice. I’ve read your blog and your log and in honesty I think you are being taken for a ride by your ‘coach’ and your ‘personal trainer’.
    You can do the Dublin marathon but I do not believe that your coach and pt are the best way to get there. I think you should seek other coaching options if that is the road you wish to go down – however a decent pt and a generic programme will be far more beneficial to you than the road you are currently following.

    • Thanks for your comment, Gerry. You haven’t explained exactly why you think my trainer and coach are taking me for a ride so I can’t address that. Though I would like to say that it would be impossible for me to share all the conversations and interactions I’ve had with them so obviously my blog/logs aren’t showing the whole picture. I did explain in an earlier post why I went with getting a trainer and coach in the first place which was to specifically avoid going the ‘generic’ route.

      As for the naysayers, the post was inspired by someone else’s post I saw on Facebook about how people couldn’t believe they could run and were being very negative about it. It was also inspired by the negativity of my own inner monologue; I am far harder on myself than anyone else in my life could be!

  2. Luke Coleman

    I think you missed the point regarding Farah.

    The year previously he became the 6th fastest man ever over 1500m. He broke the British and European Record for a distance he wasn’t training for. The commentator in question was actually the guy whose British record he broke. (a record which had stood for 28 years)

    Cram (the commentator) was basically saying he had huge potential for shorter distances rather than longer and this was evident by his times across the board. Farah actually ended up agreeing with the point in hindsight as he struggled latter in the year (and also had some health issues during the marathon training including collapsing after a half marathon in the buildup.

    Aside from that anyway. I agree with you there are many naysayers out there and sometimes try to drag you down however the unrelenting positivity can be just as bad. Some times you need the pat on the back to say well done, other times you need someone there to save you from yourself. My advice would be to critically assess all advice good and bad for yourself .

    Best of luck with your training and what ever the outcome main thing is you are becoming more confident and enjoying it. It’s about the journey and not the destination.

    • Thanks for your comment, Luke. I appreciate what you mean about Mo Farah, and understand where the commentator was coming from. It’s just that at the time I felt the things he was saying were really harsh. He really did say ‘nobody wants him here’ which, even if he meant well, is a really negative thing to say! I read Mo’s biography where he explained how he’d been unwell throughout the half marathon, but that he still wanted to challenge himself with the full marathon distance. I admire him for pushing himself out of his comfort zone.

      Thanks for your advice also. I realise I’m getting a lot of comments/advice/criticism/ideas from a lot of different places and a lot of different people so I do have to take each one and think it through carefully. I don’t dismiss anyone out of turn though, as I feel if people are concerned/caring/interested enough to comment, I should at least pay it some attention! I just hope no one gets offended if I don’t follow their advice. If I try to please everyone I’d end up all over the place!

      I’m glad to be on this journey in the first place. It’s been pretty amazing so far, with the good AND the bad.

  3. Loved your post. The semi-negative comments were a little ironic 🙂

  4. Pingback: Looking back to see ahead | This Fat Girl Runs

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