In the last couple weeks, I’ve been in contact with several running friends who are taking on the challenge of their first full marathon, and have been really scared to tell people about it. While I understand the fear of the unknown, it has really stuck with me why we are afraid to announce our intentions in general when trying something new. Of course, there is the chance that we cannot reach our intended goal – either due to our own lack of training/planning or just because the situation doesn’t allow it to happen. But who really wants us to fail in our attempt to reach that goal? Why are we so afraid?
I have encouraged these people to share their marathon goal with others. In my opinion, putting it out there allows you to start overcoming your fear and garnering support from others as you tackle the challenge. By not publicly announcing the goal, you stay in a space of fear, wasting energy on whether you should tell others or not, in addition to the effort you put forth in trying to reach your goal. On the other hand, if you tell people what you want to do, you can then move past that ‘do I or don’t I’ question and get right to the work of training for that goal.
In publicly sharing the goal to run your first 5K, 10K, half marathon, ultra-marathon or other, you have now not only gotten past the second hurdle (the first was likely signing up for it), but you can also start to recruit your team. The people who know of your goal can now take on the role of cheerleaders, coaches and friends. In fact, many people find that once they put the intention out into the universe, they start to meet others who also are working towards the same goal and feeling the same emotions – doubt, fear, elation, frustration and mroe.
So to all those we have made that commitment to try a new distance and are stepping outside their comfort zone, here are a few things I have learned along the way:
- You can do it.
- No one wants you to fail. They want you to be successful, and are genuinely happy for you.
- If for any reason you can’t grab that finish line on the planned day, you are NOT letting anyone else down. They understand that sometimes things happen. I promise they will be in awe of your effort, time and commitment you put in to get to whatever point you have reached. I learned this when I thought I might not be able to run my first marathon after raising $5000 for the Humane Society of Tulsa.
- It won’t be easy, but if it was, everyone would do it. Don’t let a few bumps in the road deter you from the final goal.
- You’ve been here before – try to remember your first race at a different distance. I’m sure you had the same concerns & doubts as you are feeling now.
- There is NO pressure to run it in a certain time -you will get a PR regardless! Enjoy the experience because believe me, those hours go by a lot faster than you realize!
- Trust your training.
- Follow your training plan, but if you find its too easy- bump it to the next level. If it’s too hard, drop it back a level (I did for my first marathon and it did wonders for how I felt).
- It’s ok to be scared; channel that energy into your training.
- I for one am proud of you for taking this challenge. It’s not easy to do, and it’s scary to tell others you are doing it. Kudos on facing your fears head on!
Yes, it is scary to declare your intentions to the world (or even just your friends). But I’m reminded of the saying by Erin Hanson: