The reason I’m grateful for this today isn’t really relevant to the post itself. The simple fact is that there was a situation presented to me that brought back an awesome lesson that’s been bouncing around in my brain since the conversation.
When I set the goal of running my first marathon I followed the training plan I selected almost exactly as it was laid out. There were over 16 weeks of runs laid out for me, specifically, how many miles would I run each day. I’d studied what it was like to train for a marathon and read a few books about what to expect, what was important, how to select nutrition and gear, and everything possible related to running 26.2 miles.
Each week I ran what I was told run. I focused on my goal of completing the marathon and didn’t let myself get distracted with delusions of grandeur of trying to hit a specific time. Even when it hurt and felt awful I still followed through on the plan. If you ever want a fun story ask me about my first 10 mile run, my first 15 mile run, and my first 20 mile run. I remember them each clearly even though they were over a dozen years ago.
I studied the course and had it memorized. When we’re the uphills. Where were the water stations. I took care of the logistics. Where would we stay the night before? How would I get to the starting line.
By the time it was race time I had put in all the work. I had prepared almost to the best of my ability. Everything was ready, it was simply up to me to put one foot in front of the other forty thousand or so times. It was time for me to perform.
Guess what happened?
My adrenaline was out of control. My imagination ran wild with crazy fears and concerns. I was panicking. I started second guessing myself, my training, my preparation, and my ability to finish the race. I got myself all worked up.
While I was in the middle of my freak out moment my little brother started joking around. I paused, took a deep breath, and told myself to chill. Next thing I knew Nick and I were joking away and helping each other relax and loosen up.
I started the race loose, I stayed calm, and I remembered all that I’d done in preparation for the race. I had already put in the work, followed the training, dug into what to expect, and had logged many, many, many miles of running to get myself ready for this moment. I told my panic, that self questioning voice in my head, to shut the hell up. I then did what I’d trained to do. One foot in front of the other. Over and over again until I crossed the finish line 26.2 miles later.
What did I learn from this? Put in the hard work, be gritty, and prepare as completely as possible. Once the pressure hits and I start to tense up it is the exact time to pause, breathe, and remember that I have prepared for this. I remind myself that I have put in the work and have trained, I need to be confidently relaxed and let the execution happen. Put another way – if I’ve put in the work to prepare there is no reason to panic, I am ready. All that is left is to execute.
Confidently relaxed. The best state of mind to be in to execute, to access that wonderful state of flow.
Sorry panic, there’s no room for you. Preparation took up all the seats on the bus before you got onboard. Sorry dude, you’ll have to wait for the next bus. This bus is headed to success.