I found training plan which I thought looked doable, and it was simple enough that it also persuaded a couple of friends to try it with me.
We completed the training, and when I did the first marathon in Dusseldorf, I finished it, but having run most of the first 30km I walked much as much as I ran for the last 12km.
I did two more marathons in Cologne and Vancouver, with pretty much the same outcome. I believed that I could complete them, but I didn’t believe I could run all the way.
Now whilst this is not big deal, it’s not like I was going to win the race or set a new world record, but it did stop me by achieving what I was actually capable of.
The belief that I couldn’t run from 30 to 42km, and that I had to do as much walking as I was running really limited my performance. In fact I tried everything to motivate myself to try and run that last part. When I ran in Vancouver I was running along side a 75 year old Australian woman, but even seeing her continue to run beyond the 30km did not convince me that I could do it.
The problem is that much of what we do is governed by our subconscious, and when we try and motivate ourselves we are working on our conscious minds. Now given that our subconscious has 95% influence, and our conscious mind only a 5% influence, it’s pretty clear that our subconscious beliefs are going to win and determine the outcome.
One of my favourite quotes is ‘mindset determines outcome‘ but this should be changed to ‘subconscious mindset determines outcome‘ and if we want to change that mindset it requires a different approach than just motivation.
We need to really look to rewire our beliefs. The reality is that just because we believe it doesn’t mean that it’s true, but it does mean that we will make it true for us.
Just recently I have been doing some work with a coach, Susan Somerset-Webb, who has been helping me rework some of myself limiting beliefs, and who has also introduced me to a technique called Tapping.
When I was doing the training for my next marathon I decided to use this technique whilst I was doing a 35km training run, I wanted to see whether I could get myself to continue running beyond the 30km, which had always been a watershed for me.
I ran with a friend, and when we hit 30km, we actually had to stop for a water break, to refill our flasks, and because of this break, we did stiffen up a little, which made me feel that I couldn’t continue to run, but I used Susan’s technique and I actually found that much of the stiffness was in my mind.
My comfort zone was looking to get me to walk, because subconsciously I didn’t think I could do it, and I felt stiffness, which once I started to run with the determination and belief I could continue dissipated and allowed me to run for that last 5km.
This was a major breakthrough me.
However, as with many self limiting beliefs, we do sometimes question whether or not it was a fluke, and we need some further evidence that we have now changed our belief system permanently, or at least pushed the boundaries back a little.
For me that happened yesterday, I ran the in Athens Marathon, and I wanted to see how I would do during the last 12km, I knew that I could get to 35, but could I keep going to 42km.
I knew that it was not physical, but my subconscious belief that had been holding me back, and I was fairly confident that I would now be able to see through this and keep going.
For those of you who don’t know the Athens Marathon, it’s one of the tougher courses, its very hilly, and it’s pretty much uphill between 10-32km then it’s downhill into the centre of Athens and the big finish in the stadium.
The conditions were pretty tough too, we set off at 9am in glorious sunshine with a temperature of 18C/65f and during the middle of the race the temperatures reached around 25C/77f which is not ideal running conditions.
The result of this was that many of my friends I was running with, and many of the other people too, struggled with the course and the conditions and ran outside the times they were hoping for, my good friend Kristen who had run 4hrs 15 as her personal best, was looking to run in 4hrs 30 because of the course difficulty, but could only achieve 4hrs 42 mins.
My result was a personal best, I beat the best time I had ever run by over 2 minutes, and that was achieved on a flat course with no hills in ideal running conditions.
By using the techniques that helped changed my subconscious belief that I needed to walk much of the last 10km, I was able to keep running right up until the finishing line, and I actually sprinted the last 150m.
The time I recorded was 5hrs, 0mins and 9 seconds.
I was disappointed not to break 5 hours, but given the weather conditions and the toughness of the course, I now know that this goal is well within my grasp, as I now have changed the belief that was holding me back and stopping me from achieving my full potential.
Much of what we do is limed by our beliefs, many of which we do not even know we have, and the majority of which are formed within our subconscious by the age of 7!!!
It is possible to reprogram these beliefs so that we can be all that we can be, it worked for me, and it will work for you. If you’re interested in knowing more then I would suggest you contact Susan.