“I can’t do this. I’m not a runner. I am tired. I am so sore. My feet are swollen. I am hurting. I am not cut out for this…”
The list goes on and on and on.
I had a fear three months ago.
I experienced this fear after one ambitious Sunday afternoon back in July. I remember I was folding laundry in my bedroom while talking to one of my best friends over the phone. She told me that she was thinking about running a 10K, and immediately I thought to myself “I can do that.”
I agreed to running the race with her in fourteen weeks, which meant that that’s all the time I had to train for it.
I had never run a 10K before. I ran a 5K the previous year, but then Winter had come, and I slowly phased out of running.
I have never been the type to be able to just pick up and run three miles at any time. Running for me is not an easy task. I remember being five years old and playing outside. I’d be playing tag or hide and go seek with my friends, and as soon as I’d start running, I instantly felt sick.
So as I began training for this race, regret immediately consumed me.
Towards the beginning weeks of training, every single time I would think to myself “what was I thinking?? I can’t run 6.2 miles! There’s just no way.”
But then something changed. It was one day after my run, I was really scared. I realized that THAT fear was the stem of where my concerns were coming from.
So I decided this could go one of two ways: I could either give up now and save myself the time on training. OR, I could really take a step back and evaluate WHY I was feeling fearful towards running, and overcome it.
I sat down and asked myself WHAT is the worst thing that could happen?I was feeling fear because I was scared that I would fail. That I wouldn’t be able to run the race all the way through. That I would let my friend down, or even worse, let myself down. I was scared of telling anyone that I was even training for the 10K, because what if I couldn’t follow through with it?
And after going through and realizing that the worst thing that could happen, actually wasn’t so scary? I realized I had done all of those things before. And I have failed many times. But each and every time, I got back up and tried again.
I found that when I realized what the worst thing that could happen was, then I could go into a situation with zero unknowns. I knew what could happen. I knew that I could fail, but I also knew there was a chance that I could succeed. And THAT is what I wanted to do. To prove it to myself that I am so much bigger than my fears.
So I made a plan, and there were three ways that I was able to cross that finish line:
I knew that during my training I would be photographing twelve weddings over those fourteen weeks. I knew that I would be traveling seven times in that timeframe – five of which were different states. I knew that I would have other photo shoots scheduled in there, and also on top of my forty-hour work week and trying to maintain my other fitness classes + a social life, my time was limited.
It felt impossible to do, but I made a plan. On every Sunday, I would look at my week ahead, and find when that week I could fit in a run. I scheduled it into my calendar, and stuck to it. I ran at least three times per week, and stuck to it.
The second thing I did? I was consistent. I ran when (and especially when) I didn’t feel like it. Most days I honestly didn’t want to run. I’d rather stay inside and relax, but sticking to my calendar date was KEY. I ran through rain. I ran when I was sick. I ran when it was 95 degrees outside. I ran when it was 40 degrees outside. I ran when I was in the Colorado mountains. I stuck to it! And the best part about that? Then on those days when it was 90 degrees outside and I was THIS CLOSE to stopping my run and walking instead, I thought about that time that I ran when it was 2 degrees hotter outside. “You have been through worse. You’ve got this” I would repeat to myself over and over again. And THAT is why consistency is key. And knowing my body too. If I was exhausted and just knew I wouldn’t be any good out there, I consumed what I knew my body needed and went out.
The third thing that made a difference was accountability. As previously mentioned, I was so scared to tell anyone that I was planning to run this 10K. Until I reevaluated the situation and realized it actually wasn’t so scary.So I posted about it all over social media. I told my friends, my parents, my sisters, my co-workers. This all felt unnatural for me to do, but I told myself that I needed to do it. To tell others, because then it felt more real. Then I KNEW I had to follow through with it.Another thing that was key for me was scheduling things immediately following my run. So if I had a 60 minute run, I scheduled something for right after, so that if I felt like stopping and walking a bit, I knew my time would slow down and I wouldn’t make it back in time for my commitment. Adding that pressure helped GREATLY and I kept on running.
I ran the 10K on October 6, 2019. All 6.2 miles of it. And I felt amazing.
I felt amazing because I knew I conquered a fear. And I truly believe there are no limits to what we can accomplish here on this earth. If we believe in ourselves, if we take a look at WHY we fear something, we can face it with determination. And conquer it, while bettering ourselves.
I now take this technique into any and all goals that I have. If I want to achieve something, but it feels impossible to do? I use this formula:
This life is so short, and we ALL need more time. For everything. But if WE control how we utilize our time rather than allow time to control US, then the impact we can make on this world has no limits.
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