I know a runner who cannot face running in organised events anymore. He would love to but cannot get anywhere near the times he was running a few years ago. Nobody else cares but he is weighed down by the things he achieved in the past.
One of the biggest problems we face when we begin something new is that we come to it with a whole host of expectations and back history. Experience is useful but if we are not careful it can also be the thing that stops us making progress. It can become a barrier and to some extent we all suffer from it. We need to let go of that previous version of ourselves and accept where we are at today.
It is what a Gestalt therpist would term ‘The Parodixical theory of Change’. The paradox is that the best way to change is to first accept and be comfortable with where we are at the moment. It isn’t always an easy thing to do. We are much more comfortable shutting out eyes to our current selves and creating a shiny image of the person we want to be.
So…we can end up putting things off until we are either the same weight as we used to be, we are at the same mileage that we used to run or we can manage the same sort of speeds we used to achieve. It is easier to spot in other people than in ourselves.
[spacer height=”08px”]As runners, most of us are prey to that ‘miles a week’ dialogue. It is one of the ways that runners classify other runners. Are we a 20 miles a week runner or a 40 mile a weeker? Those of us coming to barefoot running from a lifetime of running can find it hard to shake. The thought of dropping down to almost zero can be hard to accept.
[spacer height=”08px”]Even more pervasive is speed. Again, runners class other runners by their pace. Are they a 40 or 60 minute 10K runner or a 3 or 4 hour marathon runner?
[spacer height=”08px”]It has been hard. I was typically a 20 mile a week runner and could just about get under the 40 minute mark for a 10k. Going back to zero took some time to accept.
[spacer height=”08px”]The fact is, I was always running on borrowed time. I was always going to break down eventually…and I did.
[spacer height=”08px”]One of the biggest things that I have done whilst barefoot running is let go of my vision of the runner I was. I have accepted who I am now and what I am capable of at the moment. I look at myself in the mirror and accept where I am up to. I am grateful and count my blessings because there was a time where I was not sure if I would ever run again.
[spacer height=”08px”]I look at myself and feel no shame about where I am up to. I embrace it. To be honest, I feel a sense of relief at not having to live up to that runner I used to be. I have let go and accepted that this is a different phase of my life.
[spacer height=”08px”]I am in no rush. I have the rest of my life stretched out in front of me and want to be a lifelong runner. I am building from the ground up and rather than feel shame, I feel pride in the fact that I didn’t give up. I kept searching and experimenting until I found I way that worked for me.
[spacer height=”08px”]We have nothing to prove to anyone. We need to accept where we are, embrace it and smile. Forget what we can’t do and celebrate the things we can achieve.
[spacer height=”08px”]Give it a go. Look at yourself in the mirror, let go of the past and celebrate the things that you can do today. It doesn’t stop you dreaming and thinking big but you will be doing it from solid ground.
[spacer height=”08px”]Embrace it and step into the person you are rather than cling onto that mirage from the past. Do it often and make it a habit. It is one of the most empowering things that you can do.