Like so many athletes, I’d recently fallen prey to an injury while also battling one of the worst colds and sinus infections ever. I’ve definitely had my share of injuries and set-backs in the past, but this time it was different – in a very positive way. Although my physical body was weak, I refused to let my spirit get weakened as well. This is where the popular mantra “the mind leads the body” came in to play (which coincidentally is also the mantra for Marathon Dynamics where I coach an amazing group of runners).
Not surprisingly, we tend to think of this mantra predominantly in our workouts and races:
This is what you trained for-go get it
Think strong, be strong, finish strong
The strong get stronger
But I’ve recently come to appreciate the importance of this mantra when forced to take a pause in training –in my case, 8 weeks, but who is counting?. If given the opportunity, your mind will become your greatest ally during this time. Consider for a moment the discussion that normally takes place in one’s head (mine included) when faced with a setback:
I was just getting strong and now I have to put things on hold!
I’m going to lose so much of my speed and fitness!
Why me (again)?
This time, however, I tried a different approach. At first, I thought that I could simply fool myself into thinking positive, especially since my goal race was just around the corner. If you think positive, you will be positive, right? But that only took me so far. But then I noticed that my thinking and my attitude was actually genuine, and likely had something to do with my recent interactions with an intuitive energy healer who has helped me to look at life events in a much different manner (which by the way, is an extremely fascinating and rewarding experience). The timing was also significant, as the injury came after wining the Chilling Half Marathon – rather than getting discouraged that my set back came right after coming off a high, I used this win to instill more confidence in my abilities.
So my thinking became more of the following:
Wow…I AM strong.
It is what it is.
This will only make me stronger, and train smarter
These are bumps, not mountains. It does not remove the months and years of training that came before it.
The results? I haven’t really been bothered by my disrupted training. Just ask my husband – usually he has to listen to all my negativity and whining about not being able to train. But not this time! I have stayed optimistic and happy and have been focusing on what I can do, rather than what I can’t do. Furthermore, I actually feel more confident than I have in a while about my abilities. Wow!
Will I be able to achieve the results I initially hoped for at the World’s Duathlon competition in Spain in just over a month?
Maybe yes, maybe no, but how will I ever really know? Although I have limited control on the amount of training I can put in right now, I have full control on what I bring forward on the day that it matters most. And I promise to give it my best, whatever the best may be, on June 1st.
Letting my mind take the lead as I deal with my injuries and setbacks has been very gratifying in more ways than one. And this, I believe, will enable my body to heal in a much better and lasting manner.