It’s easy to feel discouraged in a vacuum.
Most people start Learn to Run because they’ve had the self belief beaten out of them. Maybe it’s the voice in their head that says they’ll never be able to do this. Maybe it’s the voice of that person who meant well but didn’t realise they were telling you that you weren’t good enough. Maybe it’s just that the thing that everyone else seems to find so easy, just seems hard. Chances are they have tried Couch to 5k and stopped after three or four weeks because it got too challenging. And instead of viewing that as a programming problem, it’s viewed as a personal failing. It’s hard to feel motivated, when you don’t have a context to view what you are doing. Things that might look like a failing in a vacuum are actually people putting in maximum effort. And once you shine a light on that, everything else falls into place.
Belonging is more important than achievement.
Because running is so measurable (sometimes too measurable!) it’s easy to think of that measurement as a definition of how good of a runner you are. But the fact is that the two things aren’t connected. Pace will vary depending on genetics, long term training background, the time in your week, what kind of training you like to do, the weather, how much you ate last night, what the humidity is like and which way the wind is blowing. It’s the commitment to the process that makes you great. And finding other people to share your joy with is worth far more than anything you can measure in minutes per kilometre.
What you learn in failing is more valuable than what you learn in success.
Often, you’ll have a week or two off because you get sick, or have a niggle that needs fixing up, or have some other commitments that need your attention, or maybe you just fall into some old habits. But that is the best thing that can happen. Because it teaches you that there is no end point, no failure point, as long as you are willing to pick yourself up and continue.
When you spend time encouraging others, you start talking to yourself in a different way.
One of the most fantastic part of having a support group, is the support that you receive. But one of the most amazing things is when you start supporting others who are going through the same doubts and insecurities as you are, the way you talk to yourself changes too. Suddenly, you aren’t your own worst critic all of the time.
What you get out of it at the end might be different than what you hoped for.
Many people will start Learn to Run with a goal of losing some weight and getting moving again. But what I’m most proud of is that people leave Learn to Run with a love of training that goes far beyond exercise or a means to an end. It forms a part of their identity that wasn’t there before, and a deep appreciation of the importance of their achievement.
I love programming, but . . .
I’m geek enough to absolutely love training programming. I love program design. I love personalisation. I love seeing what people can achieve with the right training plan. But mostly, I just love that I get to believe in people and find out how amazing they are.