Thursday, 17 April 2014

The stability of a relationship and mental toughness

How the stability of a relationship can assist with mental toughness

I believe that the stability of a relationship can help with running goals.

The right relationship can enable you to be free to do what you want to do and the right person will want you to be the best you can be. You don’t always need to have your partner support at the events, although both having a genuine passion for the outdoors always helps.

 In fact you don’t need to both do the same sport, though it is the common understanding that the event/ sporting goal is important to you.  Don’t forget the support of family, partners, and friends around you. The positivity and behind the scenes support are important to helping achieve goals.

 It can be behind the scenes emotional support that can help. The bouncing ideas off each other in terms of goals and life in general. It is always helpful to have a listening ear especially when times get tough such as a total race strategy or plan turn to custard. This has happened to me where I have planned and planned albeit the race or months haven’t gone according to plan. Get back up, re-plan, do what makes you happy.

Bringing qualities to a relationship that complement each other help in my view with long term sustaining of mental toughness. It is more the understanding of what the sport of ultra running involves.  It can mean not getting home at a specific time especially if you get lost on the trails.

The right relationship can enable you to flourish in sporting goals. On the contrary the opposite can have a different effect. I also believe it is important to surround yourself with a strong and supportive network of people, good friends and family.

Set aside family time or time to spend with your significant other – schedule it, like you do a running date. While training in the Port Hills of Christchurch I would always keep Sunday afternoon free. That might mean getting up at 4 am to run. Getting up early (and I haven’t always done it) allows me to be creative and set goals. Going to bed early helps too, unless of course I’m running all night which is looking like a few of those nights are on the cards in the next 2 months.

The love of life, living in the present moment, spontaneity while careful planning assists me with mental strategy – running can be a lonely sport and so setting time aside for people that are important to you is one of the best things you can do for yourself. It is about balancing training, work and family life so you can live as a well balanced person. When one is well balanced with inner peace you find everything falls into place. That doesn’t mean that I don’t struggle with life sometimes. It is rare though it definitely happens. Life can be a rollercoaster at times.
We all stress, albeit I have learnt it is about how you manage it.  With my background in occupational stress and mental health through work has enabled me to develop strategies in sport that where I can help myself achieve goals. I am currently writing on this further. It is a test to see what I can achive over the next two years.

Top tips of how to maintain balance:

·        Schedule your run like a date – would you miss a date, an important meeting?

·        Try and stick to a running plan or schedule, though also be flexible with it.

·        Set race goals, book that race.

·        Train with a buddy – you can help motivate each other

·        Be self focused on your training, do what you have to do. If it suits to run with a friend or group do it, if it doesn't suit, do not compromise your training.

·        Try and keep stress to a minimum. Something that helps me is planning : whether that be scheduling races, planning meals and nutrition, business planning, setting long term goals, working in time to spend with family.

1 comment:

  1. This is a great subject as I'm working towards running in my first ultra this year I have set all my runs out in my diary so I know what kind of run and how far I will be aiming to run. This balance has been working perfectly with work and also have my days off which I spend with my son, but I am currently not in a relationship and I'm not sure how I could fit the extra into my routine.And also if anyone else would understand my need to get out and run long distances..