The hardest step is in the mind

Over the last couple of years I’ve been running a running business called RaceTeam. The idea of RaceTeam is to provide group training for Half Marathons that educates, motivates and removes all the hurdles that people face so they can be successful in achieving their individual race goals. Due to the success of RaceTeam, we have decided to launch Saturday Runners, an ongoing running group which meets up every Saturday morning for runs around Christchurch. Our vision in designing Saturday Runners is to create a group that caters for all levels of people and to build a community around that. 

As a fitness professional, I am often reminded of how much the general population struggle with exercise but this has been reinforced to me even more since starting these running groups. Just about every day I get emails from people who want to join up but they think they won’t be good enough. They tell me how they love the idea of being a part of a  group and would love to join but they don’t think they will be fit enough. We’ve always known that people are going to be fearful of joining a running group so we’ve designed part of our groups to cater for the total  beginner. Saturday Runners has a beginner group that is for the total newby. Their runs will be around 5km long and our coaches understand that a lot of this group will start out walking a lot of that. This is achievable for just about everyone. So why are people so afraid of joining? 

I was talking to a lady called Sandra, a smiley hard training mum, and she mentioned that she wanted to join Saturday Runners and would also like to do RaceTeam this year. In the same sentence she told me that she didn’t think she would be good enough to do it. When we were talking I had a revelation, the reason she doesn’t feel she can do it is because she has no experience in it. Sandra could easily come along to Saturday Runners and achieve success with the beginner group but she has no recent experience in this area so when she imagines herself coming along she thinks the worst. To herself she thinks she’ll be the slowest one there, that everyone else will be miles ahead, she wonders if she’ll even be able to finish, she’s worried that everyone else will be elite athletes and so on. What I do know is that if Sandra came along just once she’d realise that she can achieve this. Sure there will be challenges along the way but it’s not the big scary monster that she has created in her mind.  

Often with fitness the first step is the hardest. Not because it’s literally the physically hardest, it’s the hardest because of what you created in your mind. If you can have the courage to take that step you might just realise that the things you are afraid of aren’t that bad after all, that you might even enjoy them.  

Bevan Eyles