Running A Marathon Helped Me Overcome Self Doubt And Insecurity
I never had any self-belief up until I ran a marathon.
I had a very limited sense of who I was as a person and that guy was a lazy, overweight oaf who was only ever gonna lose weight through a gastric band or a nuclear holocaust.
When I first started marathon training I was full of doubt and self loathing. At the time I could only run 3 miles. How the fuck was I expected to run 26.2?
The problem with negative emotion is that it’s toxic. It will grow like weeds in your mind and strangle your peace of mind along with your will to do anything positive for yourself.
When you’re in a negative mindset, you’re drawn to negative influences. You won’t run. You will eat like shit. You tell yourself that you won’t be able to finish a marathon. You will have that bottle of wine.
You’ll become a drug fiend, addicted to snorting eye drops and Toblerone.
Ok…maybe that’s one too far.
How I Overcame Self Doubt With Running (Partly)
I overcame the doubts initially by blocking them out and trying to improve week upon week. One week I’d be capable of running 3 miles. The next I’d be capable of 4 or 5.
The doubts lingered. If something went wrong they’d storm back to the fore to mock and bitch about my weaknesses.
- What’s the point of running when I’ll never be any good at it?
- What’s the point of running when I don’t enjoy it?
- What’s the point of running when I run to the same places, see the same things and feel the same way afterward?
Maybe you have something similar within. The internal critic who lives in the past and from experience. Either way, I’d lose my way and start judging myself against how others were performing.
Accepting a doubt will not make that doubt go away. If you concede you’re a shit runner, then you’ll believe it.
Doubts feed on doubt. They become bigger doubts. The more you feed them, the greater they become. They become so powerful and self-reinforcing that they morph into your worldview.
The only way to overcome them is to disassociate from them entirely, at least for a moment.
Let’s say that your doubts are telling you that you aren’t a runner. How do you overcome that?
Well go out and run. Doesn’t have to be especially long. If you’re new to it, it can be 0.25 mile. If you’re experienced it can be as little as 2.
You’ve addressed that doubt now. Another one might come along.
“Well you’re not a fast runner.”
You address that one by running the same distance that you ran yesterday, but only a little faster.
The biggest obstacle for me was the marathon. I never believed that I could become a marathoner. It seemed to be too long, too soon.
Then after a few runs it dawned. By incrementing my mileage every week I could get up to the point where I could run the 26.2. If I can run 4 I can run 5. And 6. And 7. And then 17..18..20..26.2.
And I did run the marathon.
You can do it too with a little effort! You just need to start small and build and believe.
But the self belief only comes through running.