Rachel and I have been asked many times to recount our ½ marathon experience. When we finish a person will usually say, “That sounds like such a great experience. I want to run a ½ marathon someday!” I would love to respond by simply saying, “Then do it,” but I know everything is always easier said than done. It’s easy for me to stand before someone, post-race, and say, “just start training for a ½ marathon if you really want to run one.” I realize that it’s a true commitment and an investment in time, but I feel like it is an investment worth taking.
You need to get to a point in your life where you learn to replace “I can’t” with “I can.” Ridding yourself of negative thoughts is the first step to accomplishing any goal. You need to believe in yourself and your abilities. Once you do that, then running your first ½ marathon becomes more than just a thought. It will allow you to set the wheels in motion for a world of possibilities that will become increasingly apparent.
The second thing you need to do is make your health a priority. Two years ago Rachel and I decided we were going to get healthy. What did that mean? To be honest, we didn’t really know. We figured we would go to the gym about five times a week and eat better. We didn’t know how long the motivation would last or if we would lose weight, but we worked on it day in and day out. Within a month we started running on a treadmill, increasing from two miles to five miles. Suddenly we were signing up for our first 5K. The feelings after running our first race ignited a fire within us to keep running. Before we knew it we had both reached our goal weight. We looked better, but most of all, we felt better. Good habits replaced bad and now, two years later, we are healthy. Rachel felt vindicated for the first time when they held a health screening at her work and she was told she was in perfect health and actually looked to be the healthiest person in the whole office. She still refers back to that day and says she uses it as motivation to continue. For me it came when my best friend, who hadn’t seen me in quite some time, said I looked like I did when she first met me, which was 11 years ago when I was only 20 years-old. I replay her words in my head whenever I workout, because I know that being healthy not only makes you feel better, but you know, I guess it makes you look younger. Who doesn’t want to look younger once you are over 30?
Now when I say “Do it” I don’t mean go out tomorrow and run a ½ marathon. I mean start working towards it as a long term goal. But, you must remember that for any long term goal you must have a series of short term goals to get you there. If your goal is to run a ½ marathon, but you are not a runner, then start running today with the Couch to 5k program. Look for a 5K in your area and sign up for it, so then you are committed. Then, finish your first 5K and mark that short term goal off your list. Next, run a 10K and knock that off your list. Then, if the feeling strikes and you feel ready, sign up for a ½ marathon and start training for it. Just remember, it’s not going to happen overnight. But, along the way you will get healthier, look better, feel better, and become more confident. Every time you look in the mirror you will know that it’s worth it.
Commit yourself to change today. Remove “can’t” from your list of words. Set a series of goals for yourself that will eventually lead you to your long-term goal. Believe in who you are and what you can accomplish, which is anything. Then, go out there and DO IT!