A running lesson

How to achieve marathon goals in life

Standard Chartered Mumbai Marathon 2011

The soreness is almost gone but the feeling of triumph lingers. As I write this, it’s been only four days since I ran the half marathon at the 2011 edition of the Standard Chartered Mumbai Marathon, the largest event of its kind in Asia. This year, I was among the 38,000 runners who participated in the event.

My decision to participate in the marathon was not entirely voluntary. I signed up on the insistence of my wife, who has run the half previously. This year, she wanted me to participate along with her. As fate would have it, her application got rejected in the ballot, while mine got accepted.

Though I have been into fitness training before, to run 21km seemed a daunting task. I started ‘training’ about 10 weeks before the D-day. To say that my training schedules were erratic would be an understatement of mammoth proportions. I had too many other activities that kept me distracted.

But somewhere along the line, I had made up my mind not only to show up for the run, but also to finish it. So I tried my best to accommodate training into my busy schedules whenever I could. As the day came closer, it became ever more difficult to find time to train—so much so that in the three weeks prior to the marathon, I could manage to train only thrice. The run now began to seem more and more arduous.

What’s more, I remember that four weeks into my training, I had realised that I needed to purchase a new pair of shoes as my old ones were, well, mutilated. I searched and hunted and literally spent a fortune on a new pair of Nike Lunarglides. However, right on the first day of running with them, I sensed that my ‘prized possessions’ were not for me. I persevered, thinking that my discomfort was because the shoes were new. Eventually, I gave up on them. I even tried looking for another new pair of shoes but couldn’t find any that were as comfortable as my old ones.

Finally, on 16th January 2011, I ran, and completed the half-marathon. And I did it in my old Reebok pair [thanks to Fevi kwick].

Now when I think about it, it all seems so easy. All I had to do was to picture completing the run in good time in my mind—the rest fell into place on its own, stuck-together shoes and busy schedules notwithstanding.

What I learned from the experience is that completing a marathon is, like any other goal in life, largely a mind-over-matter phenomenon. In other words, unless you believe you can reach your goal, you’ve lost it even before you begin. No doubt, factors such as hard work, experience, and talent help to a greater or lesser degree. But without your belief that you will get there, every goal remains elusive.

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Manoj Khatri
Manoj Khatri considers himself a student and teacher of the wisdom of love. He is also a writer-editor and has written on topics ranging from strategic marketing and business management to art, culture and even philosophy. His more than 1200 published stories—articles, interviews, full-length features—have appeared in some of the leading newspapers and magazines of India. A certified cognitive behavioural therapist, he works as a personal counsellor too. He is the author of What a thought!, a critically acclaimed book based on powerful ideas of some of the greatest thought leaders. Manoj runs Complete Wellbeing and believes that "peace begins with me".


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