Some of us have taken up running this year to improve our health.
Maybe you’ve decided to run a marathon for the first time in your life. That’s a big commitment. If you want to succeed, you’ll have to train, practice, and watch what you feed your body.
You’ll also have to watch what you feed your mind, especially if you want to win.
This is illustrated perfectly in the poem “The Race”. The runner is deep into the race. He’s sweating. He’s tired. He’s ready to drop to the ground – and stay there. Then the words of his father come ringing in his brain. “Get up.” And win that race.
In the end, he finds that victory is not just getting first place, it’s finishing when everything says you can’t.
Here’s what you do if you want to win. You watch what you eat. When you eat, you do it to satisfy your physical hunger. You practice running because you know that is how you’ll build endurance. You learn whatever you can that will give you an edge.
All these things will help you win – if you have the belief to back it up. If you think you can win, you’ll do what it takes to win. When you fall, you’ll get back up and keep running.
Contrast that with what you do if running a race is something you feel you “should” do. Maybe it’s someone else’s idea. Perhaps it’s the trend of the moment.
But you won’t have your heart in it.
You won’t put a lot of effort into preparing. You’ll eat to satisfy emotional hunger. Then on race day when you’re halfway down the track and sweat is pouring off you like a waterfall, you’ll give up. When you fall, you’ll lie there waiting for the paramedics and the bleeding hearts.
What you feed your mind really does make a difference.
Here’s a quick way to check your attitude. As you are in the heat of the race you’ve chosen and the temptation to give up rears its head, the choice you make in that moment reveals the temperature of your belief.
Are you on fire or are you just all wet? If you fall down in the race, will you get back up or lie there?
Your choice determines where you’ll finish.