Updated: Sep 18
Participating in a cardio race is something I've always wanted to do. I have always enjoyed running but it's never been about how fast I go or how far I run, it's really just about running. For me, running revitalises my whole body, I feel physically fitter and mentally clearer after each run. 10 kilometres may not seem a big achievement to some, but for myself it was a great starting point to my running journey.
With a few weeks to the upcoming 10k race for Kidney Wales a friend and fellow runner pal Lauren, signed up and I thought it would be a great opportunity to get involved, now or never right? Sometimes you just have to jump into the deep end with things. The first two weeks, Lauren and I completed 5k runs together and solo, along with yoga, strength training and a personal favourite... Hot Yoga! I was unsure that I could physically accomplish a 10k. We completed a 10k run, a few weeks before the race. Physically, I felt my body coped well, although there were some aches and pains.
I think jumping into anything new can make anybody nervous, especially jumping into the deep end with little time to train, whilst pushing your body to new limits and striving to complete something that requires a new mental focus. For any physical achievement the physical requirement is only 20% and the mental requirement, makes up the other 80%. It is known that athletes have struggled to complete marathons etc, when their physical fitness has been in top shape but their mental focus has not been at the same level.
The Telegraph published a news article on "Sports Visualization: how to imagine your way to success" within the article top athletes commented and shared with how they visualised themselves scoring a goal, playing well in a tournament etc. Athletes visualised the feelings of this achievement, the atmosphere, the sounds, the smells before the big day. I am no athlete but I am a firm believer in visualising what you want and this played a key part in my training and running the 10k.
Ali Mahoney explains "When we do physical challenges like running a 10K, we spend a lot of time doing the physical training, but very little time, if any, doing any mental training. There are lots of things you can do before your big day to prepare yourself mentally. It can be as simple as developing 'if-then' plans, for example 'if I get nervous I'll think about how great it will be to finish' or 'if my legs feel heavy towards the end I'll think about all the training miles I've done that will carry me over the line' or 'if I start thinking that I can't do it, I'll think about all the people who are supporting me'.
I honestly felt during the race my legs were going to break or my hips where going to pop out of their sockets. I began to think about what if I trained more? Am I going to achieve this? And doubts began to settle in. However, I put all of this aside and focused on what I was doing right now, how far I had already ran, how the training I had done has helped me get to this point, why I was running and believing that it is possible to continue and ultimately seeing myself pass the finish line.
I managed to complete the race, in a time that I was proud to achieve on my first race. Physically, I felt that I could have trained harder and incorporated more hot yoga and morning runs into my training plan as this helped me with my breathing. But for me, achieving the race under 1 hour was good, but participating was even better. Running has shown me new and exciting physical strengths and capabilities