Tag Archives: learning

Marathon Lessons and March Targets

15 Mar

Since my last post after the Brighton half marathon, my world has been a whirlwind of excitement! Running, coaching, business, travelling the country and seeing family. I set myself a target last month of spending an hour a day on self development. What a revelation that has been! In the midst of work related tasks (which for me includes my business role, coaching clients, and running  (a must do before the marathon), I aimed to spend 60 minutes a day reading, writing, listening or studying. In this time, I have covered and revisited 2 amazing books – Stephen Covey’s ’7 habits of highly effective people’ and Brian Tracy ‘Eat that frog’.

What I have learnt in the last 3 weeks:

The importance of listening to others. Through my coaching, I am developing listening skills, picking up on verbal and non verbal language. Covey suggests you must ‘seek first to understand and then be understood’. Last week, I spend a week with my family which meant staying in 3 different parts of the UK, 2 family meals and lots of travelling! I used this time to really listen to each family members conversations and let them open up. An enjoyable experience!

I have also learnt (or remembered) the difficulty and subsequent rewards of marathon training. For the last 3 weeks, I have been running 5 times a week and have increased my long runs (15, 17 and 19.5 miles). This week is my biggest mileage week. Through determination to achieve my target time, I have continued to progress and noticed a real improvement in my running. As I feel this will be my final marathon (apart from the one at the end of Ironman!), I wanted to take stock of what I have learnt training for 4 marathons.

  • Pushing boundaries. With each hill, sprint or group interval session, I felt stronger and more in control. The speeds I can now achieve were completely unthinkable several months ago.
  • Discipline. Training in the UK, over winter is not an easy task. Fitting in 5 runs a week around a 70-80 hour working week is also challenging but I have enjoyed the experience. Early morning runs, late night runs, snow, wind and rain all make for a disciplined athlete.
  • Commitment. Similar to the above but more specifically about sticking to the task. When the going gets tough, injuries or extreme tiredness occurs, commitment is required to keep you going.
  • Accepting and seeing through a challenge. Commitment is the first step, the second step is action. Seeing through your actions is vital to ensure you succeed.

With my coaching clients and myself on past blog posts, I have set monthly targets. My favourite one was aiming for 6 miles in 60 minutes – a specific and quantifiable aim which was satisifying to achieve!

My summer triathlon races are looming, with the first event being on 1st May. For that reason, between now and the London marathon (17th April), I aim to:

  1. Swim once a week (quality session) and get back to the tri club sessions by the beginning of April
  2. Cycle twice a week (one on turbo and another longer ride) building up to 25 miles by 17th April.
  3. Gym once a week to work on core, legs and strengthen the glutes!

This is all achievable if I continue to push the boundaries, commit, dedicate and ‘eat that frog’ first thing every morning (read the book and you’ll see what I’m talking about!).

Keyboard of Positivity

19 Mar

The Keyboard of Positivity

Earlier today I made a flippant comment about how I wish I could press a button to ‘refresh’ people and make them rethink some negative comments. After this, I came up with a concept of using different ‘buttons’ on a keyboard to banish unwanted or negative thoughts.

Consider the following buttons found on the standard computer keyboard:

Refresh
Control key
Tab
Space bar
Backspace
Return
Caps lock
Escape

We can learn to associate each of these keyboard ‘buttons’ (amongst others) with certain activities that will help you implement positive thoughts.

Here are some examples:

Press ‘Refresh’ when work is getting on top of you –  associate this button with 10 minutes of yoga or an activity which relaxes your body whilst meditating your mind.

Press ‘Control’ to control feelings of hunger, shopping or nicotine cravings, by distraction therapy such as playing with a pet, writing a diary.

Feeling lazy? Not motivated to attend a planned exercise class, press ‘Tab‘ and spend 15 minutes  slowly counting to ten to regain your focus  or reason for wanting to keep fit.

Use ‘Space bar’ – take yourself physically away from a person that is irritating or upsetting you.

Backspace’ – apologise for something you said or did that you didn’t mean. Avoid angering or upsetting others, by taking back an action or hurtful words.

Unable to gain perspective on a current problem or are you overrun with negative emotions? ‘Return’ – return to a happy memory, with a person you love, a holiday destination,  a happy time in your life. Remember to lock these memories as they happen. Positive thoughts are much stronger than negative. ones

Having a disagreement with someone? Press ‘Caps lock’ to stand up for yourself and your beliefs. If anyone attempts to bring you down, stand true to yourself and protect yourself against unconstructive criticism.

Escape’ – if all the above fails, ave a back-up plan to remove yourself from your current situation. Have a weekend away planned, a spa day, massage, gym session with a friend – anything that helps you escape an overwhelming situation. Come back to the situation relaxed and rested, with a new focus.

Regular pratice of a variety of coping techniques can build up your confidence to cope with whatever difficult situations life throws at you. Every technique takes time to learn. Compare the above ‘buttons’ with learning and then perfecting a swimming stroke.  At first, you may believe the stroke is impossible to master. You learn the basics and, with practice, your technique slowly improves. Practice everyday and you can become a master, having the ability to call on coping strategies in any situation.

Without realising it, this is something I have been practising over the last few months. I can honestly say I have never felt so positive, despite many recent setbacks. Try it!