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Beyond Running – One Year Later

Yesterday was exactly one year since I finished Running4Her, my 400 km solo charity run and educational project, finalising an eight year extreme endurance running career, comprising of thirteen such challenges, all of which I achieved.

Though I had announced publicly that Running4Her was to be my final solo extreme endurance challenge, few people believed me. Running has changed my life, it brought me from success to failure in much more than sports.  Though a wonderful and enriching sport, it can also be an obsessive one, and I wasn’t going to fall into this trap. I ran what I needed to run, my current business developed from my running as well as my studies in psychology and philosophy, and I changed my life, it was now time to dedicate myself largely towards this work – to help others change their lives, professionally or personally. My development, speaking, and writing work is too important for me to dedicate such extreme effort and time to running, and anyway, I didn’t want to continue – it was time to go beyond running.

I have spent this last year focussing purely on my motivational speaking, my professional and personal development programmes and retreats, and on writing my second book “Small Steps towards Excellence”. I have given talks and programmes here in Spain and in Greece, have given my first TEDx Talk, and have held numerous development retreats here in Spain for clients both from Spain and from abroad.

I have launched a women’s group here in Barcelona “BCN Women” and am currently launching my new Essential Transformation programs for 2016 where we work on personal transformation via exercise. I am launching a charity project “Tolerance Without Boarders”, and developing and major educational project. The Documentary of the Challenge “Catching Up with Alex” is currently in its post production and fundraising stage.

When asked why I don’t want to run any more extreme solo challenges, what else can I reply except that I have moved beyond running…I still run – for fun and health now – and I am still developing charity projects, and as for my own challenges? Each day presents exciting new projects and challenges.

My thirteen challenges remain permanently engraved in my mind and in my heart, as do all the amazing people who participated and supported them. Thanks to Frank and every single person involved in all of them!

R4H: Catching Up With Alex Trailer

Motivation: Chapter 2

Continuing from last weeks article on Motivation…

We all have different reasons for starting a particular sport. I’m going to use the example of running as it’s my own particular sport, but most of what I’m going to say can be applied to nearly all sports.

You may have taken up running because your new partner is a runner, or because your parents run, or for many the possibility of losing weight is a great incentive, and for others it’s a way of escaping an unhealthy life of addiction – there are many different reasons. What is important though for everyone is to know why they run. To be able to motivate yourself in something, first you need to be clear as to why you are doing it in the first place. Once you have this clear you can then begin to work on the motivation itself.

Depending on your reason or reasons for running, you can start setting yourself goals which are related to you reason for running, and will therefore help keep driving you to continue. We all need goals in life, and it’s important that they’re not all very long-term goals. It’s best to also plan smaller goals, more achievable one, which will then help us to reach our bigger long-term ones. As I mentioned in Chapter 1, it’s important to have a solid strategy for running, both so as to help in your training schedule, and also to help you achieve your goals and maintain motivation.

Boredom is a great contributor to losing motivation, and therefore it’s important to keep changing your routes, your type of training and your running locations. All too often training plans a very inflexible – this won’t help you break the monotony. No matter how good your plan is, if you get too bored and de-motivated to continue, this plan will be worthless. If you’re in danger of becoming de-motivated, it’s much better to adopt a flexible training plan, and add variety to your runs, because if you burn out psychologically, the best plan in the world won’t help you in your race – you may not even arrive at race day.

Flexibility, variety, music, and good company can all help you to keep up your motivation, but there’s one other thing that plays a great part in this too…rest. I don’t know many people who respect rest – it’s one of the areas I work on a great deal in my running seminars and training camps. If you don’t leave yourself enough rest in your training schedule, before, during and after your race or challenge, you definitely won’t reach your top performance, and you will probably begin to lose motivation. Our bodies and our minds are intricately connected and we need both in optimum condition to function at our best. To be well both physically and mentally we must know how to rest.

Forget looking at what others do – most people do not reach their true potentials due to injury, improper training methods, lack of proper strategy, and lack of motivation and mental training – you must think of what you want, what your objectives are, your own reasons for running and in your own needs. Respect your body and your mind and you’ll find that you will neither lose your goals, nor will you lose your motivation…

Be Excellent!

Motivation: Chapter 1

Motivation is one of the most powerful tools we have in sports, and for that matter, in our lives too. Without motivation even the best athlete won’t reach half his or her potential, and similarly, a mediocre athlete with high motivation may well beat much stronger athletes. I’ve seen runners of all levels, from world-class champions to beginners, lose motivation and abandon races or even sports itself with no physical reason whatsoever. Motivation is essential for achieving goals and for living a full life.

When one starts to run, or to practice most similar sports, it’s easy to motivate oneself; in general we like new things and experiences. Everything’s an adventure: the feelings and sensations, the people we meet, first races, new goals, the ability to break one’s own records or to win races. At the beginning it’s easy in the same way that the beginning of a new relationship is easy – the first months or even years are exciting and new, full of the motivation and adventure necessary to continue. Later though, when the experiences are no longer new, and the excitement begins to lessen, is when you can lose the motivation totally if you don’t work at it.

As I said earlier, time itself and experiences already lived can cause loss of motivation, especially considering that in the times we live in, most people’s values are very tied in with the culture of consumerism, where new is best, and where rapid turnover is almost necessary. All too often I here people saying “Been there, done that.” or “That’s nothing new, it doesn’t interest me…” For those who live like this, those whose values are based on searching out what’s new, who are always in search of adrenaline, running or any other sport will therefore be no different. Once they have tried it all they risk demotivation. This is only one of the causes of loss of motivation – there are many more.

The runner who starts to run with his or her best friend, or always trains with the same person, can easily lose the necessary drive to continue when said partner gets injured or decides to stop training.

Many people don’t know how to balance their sports, and over train or push too hard on speed before they are ready. Over training of any sort can lead to injury and certainly to exhaustion, both of which are also cause loss of motivation.

Another major cause is lack of strategy, and failure to set realistic goals. If you’ve set yourself goals far beyond your capabilities, it’s possible that the disappointment of failing to achieve these goals will leave you totally disheartened. Those who know me know that I’m a woman who thrives by setting tough challenges – for me, if it’s easy and if the outcome is guaranteed, then it’s not a challenge. Obviously I like uncertain goals, but this said, when I set one of these gruelling challenges I prepare myself exceedingly well, both physically and psychologically, and I always ensure that there is a logical progression to my challenges. Failure to do so can lead us to failure, after which will no doubt follow a certain degree of demotivation.

Loss of motivation due to avoidable reasons often leads to abandoning the sport completely, and at times may even lead to abandoning sports in general. This same lack of motivation may also lead you to not prepare fully for a race or challenge, leading in turn not only to failure but also to injury. Less obvious, but by no means less serious is the fact that demotivation can also feed depression.

So what can we do about all this then? There are many things we can do, many tools we can use, and to do so we need to go deeper into the topic and need a lot of time, but for a start, we can look at how to try to prevent it…

Enough for today – tomorrow you can return to read Chapter 2…

Be Excellent!

Alex Living Excellence
Alex Living Excellence
Alex Living Excellence
Alex Living Excellence
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