Six years ago I signed up to run my first half marathon. At the time, my goals were to raise money for charity and to try something I had never done before. I didn’t really enjoy running. In fact, I don’t think I had ever run more than a mile continuously, but I was motivated by the challenge involved.
After several months of training, I completed my first race, and I was hooked. Several years and three half marathons later, I have experienced many of the ups and downs that endurance racing has to offer. Through these experiences, I have come to understand that much of the challenge of endurance sports is mental rather than physical.
It is challenging and exhausting to put in the time and energy required to build up the physical endurance to complete a long race. Your mind can be your worst enemy as you plod your way through a long workout, always focusing your attention on the wrong things, distracting you from the steps you need to take to achieve your goal. You constantly have to fight to stay focused, motivated, and moving in the right direction.
It is not all that different from working towards any challenging, long-term goal in life.