This Sunday, on 26th April, I shall achieve one of my lifetime goals and finally take part in the London marathon!
Over the years I have applied through the ballot and got a space and then had to pull due to injury. One year, I got injured the day before playing mixed 5-a-side football. One bad “tackle” from a female opponent led to a sprained arm and that was the end of that year’s marathon.
Two years ago, I had a place again in the London Marathon but an injury meant I had to pull out and defer my place.
So finally, come Sunday I will be one of the 36,000 participants at the start line and my goal is simply to finish. A running injury in February curtailed my training and rather than pull out, I am going to walk the whole route. It may take me over 8 hours but I shall be there at the finish line!
Previously when I have pulled out from running, I learnt a number of lessons which have helped me this year.
This year too I can see a number of lessons which one can apply in other areas of our life:-
1. Don’t give up on your dream
After watching from the sidelines for so many years I am finally going to be one of the participants in the world’s biggest participant sports event!
2. Plan the journey towards your goal
Once I was committed to my goal of taking part in the marathon, I scheduled the time for the training, even if it has meant cold winter mornings and late nights. It is amazing what other less important activities one can let go off in the face of a bigger goal.
3. Prepare and train for your goal
I learnt a number of ways of helping me build up my stamina, running speed and ultimately walking speed.
It showed me that once committed I could learn and adapt to do what is needed to get to my goal.
4. Get help and find suitable resources
Best of all I called on help from a number of people – not only people who had run the London Marathon before but also trainers at my gym, a physiotherapist friend, an osteopath and a nutritionist. There is also so much useful information available online these days.
5. Work with a team and get an accountability partner
Once I mentioned I was running the marathon, it was amazing how many friends and business contacts were also running. One such friend has been particularly very helpful and we have been encouraging each other over the last 4 months. Having such accountability has been a key factor in keeping me focussed on my goal of being there for the start line.
6. Pay attention to detail
Over the last couple of days I have prepared in depth and got my gear ready as well as things like food and water provisions. After all, on an 8 hour walk I will need lots of energy!
7. Be persistent on your journey no matter what
Keep plugging away at your goal and stay on the journey. Do whatever it takes to get you there
Don’t be stopped by any setbacks such as injury.
8. Commit to a great cause
I am running for a children’s charity WellChild which does some great work and helps sick children get better. So many times when I have wanted to chuck in the idea of running in the marathon, I have been motivated by knowing that I was doing for a great cause and something bigger than me.
9. Ask for support
Ask for help and support! So many people have helped and encouraged me over the last 4 months and it feels great to be at the point of repaying their faith in me.
So many friends have also generously helped me with sponsorship for WellChild. And I would like to ask more of you to do the same – please sponsor me online via my sponsorship link.
Finally celebrate! No matter how big or small your goal, one must celebrate. So I shall be celebrating this Sunday at the finish line and also afterwards over dinner with friends. And perhaps with some champagne at a house party in a couple of weeks time:-)
There we are – my key learnings from taking part in the London marathon.
In a future post, I shall share more about the day I achieved one of my life ambitions.