What a year 2018 has been, there have been some ups and downs but no year is perfect, I’m happy with my progress and the development I’ve made. 2018 has taught me some vital lessons, so before thinking ahead to 2019 goals, I just wanted to quickly recap some of the pearls of wisdom 2018 has given me
1) It’s completely ok to lose your running mojo
It happened to me after the London Marathon and it took a fair few months to find it again. I think the main thing is to not dwell upon it, you won’t make any headway by forcing yourself to do something that you’re heart isn’t committed to do. Your mojo will return with time, and sometimes you just have to lose it and take a step back to realise how much you enjoy something. I used the time to focus on cycling and swimming and it has opened up a whole new world of possibilities for me. You can read more in my previous blog post
2) Injuries/ illness happens, it’s rubbish but you do bounce back stronger
2018 seemed to be punctuated with completely random niggles and health curveballs. From an infection in the fat pad of my knee cap after a fall during marathon training, to very strange and random hip pain that passed off as quickly as it started, having a 24 hour Holter monitor, a Lyme Disease scare, Achilles issues, then seeing the year out in bed with flu. I wasn’t expecting any of that! The one thing I’ve learnt is that rest is essential. You cannot train through the pain or sickness and you need to give your body a chance to recover. 2 weeks off is better than 2 months off, a month off is better than a year off and so on. Rest, stay positive and seek professional help when needed. Whilst you cannot train your body during injury/illness as you would normally, think of it as training your mind- I’ve certainly learned a lot about staying positive and focused. I’ve come back with a refreshed view on my training and a more optimistic outlook, and I’m ready to give it hell once this flu is over!
3) The second marathon doesn’t hurt as much as the first
Sarah said this to me as I waited to start Dublin Marathon. After London (my first marathon) I felt broken. It took a good week and a bit before I could run again and getting up/down stairs was a challenge. I think my back and shoulders hurt the most. But it’s true, the second marathon definitely does not hurt as much as the first, your body knows whats in store and you know how to recover better. Although I really don’t recommend partying until 3am, as I might have done in Dublin…..
4) You don’t know what you’re capable of until you try
DON’T let your fears hold you back, it is never too late to try something. I convinced myself for ages that I could never do a marathon, then in 2018 I did two! If there is something you’ve always wanted to do, there is no time like the present, don’t put it off! Dream big, train hard and anything is within your reach. Similarly don’t be afraid to try something completely new, it almost is never as scary as it seems (unless your new thing is like, sky diving or something). Everyone was new to something once, and nothing is completely alien, for example running teaches you training and mental discipline, it improves your physical fitness and you learn to train in a variety of ways from track to endurance- all these skills can be applied to cycling, or swimming, there is much more overlap than you expect.
5) Enjoy your training
After all if you’re not having fun what is the point? That doesn’t mean you absolutely love EVERY session, lets face it some sessions its just a challenge to get out the door, but you have to enjoy the journey as much as the end point, otherwise you’re committing a lot of time and emotion to something that isn’t truly serving you. If you’re feeling uninspired then mix it up, workout with friends, join a running group, try a new class, treat yourself to some new sports gear, or just take a break for a week.
6) Don’t compare yourself to others
“Comparison is the thief of joy” Theodore Roosevelt. Comparing your life, achievements, work, happiness, goals, times, body, ANYTHING to anyone else will only make you unhappy. There is a very fine line between drawing inspiration from someone, and devaluing your own achievements based on someone else’s success. You are worth more than that, you are unique, your journey is unique and your achievements are personal to you. Everything is relative to each individual person and your only competition is you.
So 2018, thanks for the lessons. Bring on 2019