"A Journey Of A Thousand Miles Starts With A Single Step"
Breaking-up a big goal into smaller goals is a great strategy for success. This week we find out how a professional paratriathlete used this approach to become a World Champion.
Since her life-changing traffic accident in 1990, Marianne Hüche has overcome serious injury to become Denmark's first professional paratriathlete. Winning both Long Distance Triathlon and Cross Triathlon in the 2015 World Championships, Marianne is now focussing on reclaiming her titles in 2016 along with winning the Long Distance, Half Distance and Cross Triathlon at the European Championships.
Marianne took time out from her busy training schedule to share her thoughts on being realistic to experience success.
You began your incredible journey with your decision one day to run to a lamp-post. Clearly you were challenging yourself but what made you decide to attempt a marathon?
It is all down to constantly trying to find out how much I can push myself both mentally and physically. My body is much different to others and in the beginning the block was purely mental. When I started to run I found out that this block was gradually disappearing and I wanted to find out what I could push my body to do by running longer and longer distances. I wanted to find the limit of what I could do. You know what? I have not found it yet.
Once you decided to commit to your goal, how did you go about breaking-down this enormous task ahead of you?
I only set small goals to make sure I would succeed in reaching them and get motivated to set a new one. I did not from the beginning set a big overall goal, e.g. running a marathon. Actually I never thought that would be possible at all, so I started with the goal of running 5K, thinking that I would be happy doing this three to four times a week for the rest of my life. But once I achieved this I became curious if I could run 6K, 7K and 8K. I could! And then I set a goal of 10K, 15 and so on.
What advice would you give to first-time runners or people who would like to achieve a fitness goal, run an event or compete but don't know where to start?
There are a few simple pieces of advice that are always good to have in mind:
- Set realistic goals that you are quite sure to succeed in reaching. That will motivate you to continue towards the goal and also set new goals afterwards.
- Find out what kind of fitness motivates you and that you think is great to do. Also find out what factors are motivating you when doing your sports. For myself for example, I would never have made it without the help and encouragement from lots of good music during all my running workouts.
- Make training-dates with others. There are many communities on e.g. Facebook were you can sign-up for training sessions with others or you can find a club near you where there is arranged training for new runners if you are into running. Training with others is very motivating and gets you up off the couch and out of the door.
- Keep going - it is okay that there are days where training sucks and the legs are heavy. Keep going and credit yourself for being out there and not on the couch. It does not matter if you are, for example, running only 1 or 2K even though you planned 5K- you did the 1 or 2K instead of 0K meaning that you are a success.
- Always see the glass as half full instead of half empty and credit yourself for all successes, no matter if they are small or big - a success is a success and must be celebrated!
Finally, for those newcomers who might get carried away with their training, how can someone be sure they are not pushing themselves too far too soon?
Pay very much attention to what your body is telling you! Ít is okay to feel a good and natural fatigue and feel sore in the muscles in the days after training. Continued pain in muscles, ligaments and joints and extreme tiredness is NOT normal and means that you are either training too much, too hard and/or training in a wrong way that will harm your body. Slow down the training intensity and the numbers of workouts per week for a period - especially if you are new in training. If this does not help, seek guidance from experienced athletes or trainers who can help you identify and solve the problem.