Friday, 13 March 2015

What training for the marathon has taught me about confidence

I am sitting in Gatwick airport right now, writing this blog while waiting for my flight to Barcelona. This Sunday I will be running the Barcelona Marathon, yes ( OMG) the full 26 miles or 42 km. It is not the first time I hasten to add, so I know what awaits me. But it is the first time in a very long time - the last one having happened in a cold and rainy London in 2008. I can still remember the blue lips and frozen hands by the end of it. Anyway, as this is self inflicted pain I have no right to complain nor do I hope that you will feel sorry for me. I have done a reasonable amount of training, less than I should have according to any publicly available marathon training schedule, but let's face it, life is never perfect, I have done as much as I could between family and work schedule. So I will run and try to get in one piece through the finishing line. I feel ok about it.

But as I reflect on what I could have done and have not done I realise that I will finish the run if I believe I will. But I will not finish the run if I do not believe so. And herein lies the truth of the often cited motto ' Whether you believe you can or you can't are right'. My head is telling me that I have all the chances to finish, I have trained, run, eaten sensibly. Certainly, I could have trained more, but ultimately I have given my self a good chance to finish the race within a reasonable time for an amatorial runner. So the legs will follow because my head says yes and my heart says yes too.

This is where I believe too many of us, women more than men according to all available information, often do not dare to go. As women we deny ourselves a chance to seize an opportunity, go for that promotion, negotiate that pay rise, because of a self imposed limiting belief that we cannot possibly have earned it, achieved it, deserved it, worked enough for it. And when the head says no, the rest of the body follows in the same belief. So it is absolutely critical to stop this vicious circle of : first our head says no, then our body and heart say no.  Believe in your self and in your ability. Don't deny yourself opportunities you have worked for just because you could have worked even harder, known that little more, networked a bit further. Life is not perfect and I will never manage to run four times a week as the recommended schedule suggests. But sure as h**l I am going to give my self the best chance to get through that line, and if my head says so, my legs won't let me down !


  1. Alessandra your blog makes some really interesting points and observations; I agree and have been a long time believer in what the sub-conscious mind says or believes the conscious mind does; clearly the mental process and emotions that you went through prior to your run affirms this…… well done on completing the run!

    1. Thank you Trisha. It was tough but I crossed that line eventually!
      The more I talk to women and the more I understand that everything starts with and in your mind. Women will never achieve equality unless we think and feel equal in the first place!