These are the things I have learned over the last 2 years while I have battled with my health. I lost my energy and vitality and my love of running has suffered many blows along the way. After recently being diagnosed with Adrenal Fatigue and since then Thyroid issues, I am starting the process of rebuilding my health. While it has been a tough journey I feel it has taught me some valuable lessons, not just about running but also about life.
Believe You Can – If you don’t believe you can do it then you probably never will, no one ever accidently climbed Everest! If you want something bad enough and are willing to do it properly with the right plan and due patience then it can and will happen.
Set Realistic Goals – Always set goals based around where you are in your journey. Don’t worry about what everyone else is doing or expectations that anyone else has on you. Never feel like you are missing out or letting anyone down just because you are not doing what everyone else is.
Know the big picture of your goals but don’t focus on the big picture everyday. Focus on the small steps that will get you there. Don’t be afraid to change the plan and take those extra stepping stones when needed or even to have the courage to take that leap and skip a stepping stone if things are going better than planned. It is so important to listen to your body and to let it guide you, our bodies are pretty good at telling us what we need, we just need to be able to stop and listen to the signs. Use your intuition. Do things at the right pace for you and your situation and for where you are in your journey, never compare yourself or your journey to others. Accept and embrace where you are now, live in the present, not the past or the future, you need to focus and build on where you are now. Know your limit and how far you can push yourself before you break, this is so individual for each person and it such an important aspect of your body to be familiar with.
Focus On The Positives In Any Situation – Acknowledge the negative thoughts as thoughts and then send them on their way, dwelling on negatives thoughts will never be productive to moving forward in the long term… positivity is key!
It is normal to go through a range of emotions when faced with any difficult situation, it is ok to feel upset, angry, bitter, sad, disappointed, guilty or regretful, these feelings should still be acknowledged but should only be momentary not permanent or ongoing as they can lead to negative mental health.
Respect Recovery – Even if you feel good after a training session or a race you still need to give recovery the respect it deserves. It can be too easy these days to rush to the next task and adrenaline can make us feel invincible and very able. The problem is that this stuff is not designed to be switched on all of the time and eventually too much of a good thing is not always a good thing. Exercise has so many benefits but it is a withdrawal from your bank account and if you don’t replenish the funds and you keep withdrawing then you can expect the inevitable. But if you keep topping up the funds with recovery the opposite will be true and you will find balance, this is where those positive adaptations will be made. It is so important to take time out for yourself to do things that you enjoy and things that relax you… If running is your thing then enjoy it and find another relaxing activity you enjoy along with it to balance it out. Make time for yourself and never feel guilty about it, you can’t be at your best in any situation if you are burning the candle at both ends.
Be Brave In Whatever Life Throws At You – Fear will get you nowhere. Do whatever it takes to get through it, always look for a way forward, seek advice, let your experiences teach you not define you, learn as much as you can and be kind to yourself.
Don’t be afraid to call on or ask others for support. It is surprising how many people are out there who can and who want to support you… but they can only help if you let them. Reaching out also helps you connect with others who have been or are in a similar situation.
Don’t be afraid to say no to others if it is the right thing for you. Good friends will understand this and you should never feel that you need to explain yourself to anyone, sometimes it is important to make the best choice for you.
Not everyone will understand your journey and that’s ok, you can’t make them understand, the only one who needs to understand is you. You should never feel the need to prove or explain yourself to anyone. There will always be people who doubt you, never let their doubt become your doubt. Tough times always reveal our true friends.
Respect Your Health Above All Things – Do those little things everyday that make a difference, they may seem small but all of those 1%ers will add up over days, weeks, months and years. Don’t expect immediate results but always trust your journey and the hard work will pay off, it’s the little things you do everyday that count the most long term. For many of us health is just a given and it is not until it gets taken away from us that we realise its true value. Nourish your body.
Don’t Take Yourself Too Seriously – Just have fun doing what you love, be able to take a step back when you need to. If you don’t reach your goal, or get that PB or if things don’t go to plan its not the end of the world, there will always be other opportunities. It might not be because you didn’t work hard enough and it doesn’t necessarily mean you have to work harder next time… things don’t always go to plan and that’s just a fact of life. Don’t get hung up on a bad day. Learn to forgive yourself.
When I think back to the person I was 2 years ago I see a very different person to what I see now. I could sit here and list the negatives but I am not going to as I can see so many positives that have come from this journey. 2 years ago none of the above would ever have actually occurred to me and I can now take these positives into the future. Who knows what the future holds… but I believe that no matter what happens, these lessons will serve me well and I will be passing each and every one of them onto my kids as well. Sometimes all you need to do is change your perspective!