Race Day Thoughts


Perhaps like me, St Patricks Day 17th March has been subconsciously burning in the back of your mind for several months. Personally, I can’t wait.

For this second and final column, I’d love to share four things that I’ll be doing before, during and after the race. These are strategies I will employ to help me get through the big ambition we’ve all signed up for and to make the Mullingar Half Marathon the most enriching experience I possibly can.

  1. In the minutes before the start, even though I’ll be surrounded by fellow competitors, my thoughts will be elsewhere. I’ll be thinking of a few friends who are not as lucky as me. I’ll be thinking of friends who would love to have the health to be running Mullingar today - but for whatever reason are unable. How fortunate I am. I’ll also make myself consciously aware of the beauty of the surroundings we will navigate through. This is a way to build up my mind to be very positive about what awaits. I don’t have to do this. I get to.
  2. So now we’re off and the race is on. I’m sure we’ll all have some not-so positive moments during our individual races. I’ve learned that when that happens, to simply control the controllable. Particularly in the later stages, one simple mantra I’ll be repeating to myself is ‘run the mile you’re in’. When you think about it - in running terms - that’s the only thing you can do. I’ll also be conscious of eating if I need to and taking on fluids as well. Control what you can control, to get you to your goal.
  3. In ambitions such as this, I attach numbers to my goals. In this case, it will be 13 to represent the 13.1 miles of the event itself. I will continually remind myself that I’m passing through on the way to my ultimate number. At mile 8 I’ll remind myself I’m passing through 8 on the way to 13. I’ll tell myself I cannot get there without passing through 8. It’s impossible. I must pass through this number and the higher ones too. When I arrive at the crossover footbridge, even though I might be feeling jaded or not overly motivated to cross it, I’ll remind myself that I must cross it to get to 13. I’m just passing this bridge to get there.
  4. Finally, I have learned to celebrate success. Celebration can be simple, but I now realise it’s so important. Whether you do it at the finish line, that night over a meal or a week later with your family or running friends, take time to consciously celebrate what has probably been a three or four month journey for most of us. Think about the journey and the day itself. Relive it in your mind and in your conversations. By celebrating what we are so fortunate to do, it can extract even more enjoyment out of your goal. Be aware of what you’ve done. Be aware of how fortunate we are to get to do this. And be aware that taking on this ambition, is you making the most of your life. That’s much to celebrate.

So that’s it from me but with some final words.

Have to or get to?

The choice is yours.

Gerry Duffy is a professional speaker in the corporate sector in the areas of goal setting, motivation and leadership. He has written three books. The first Who Dares, Runs chronicles his ambition to run 32 marathons in 32 consecutive days around Ireland in 2010 and his second was Tick Tock TenInside a DECA Iron Distance triathlon (24 mile swim, 1,160 mile cycle and 262 mile run). Tick Tock Ten was shortlisted for Irish Sports Book of the year (2013). His latest book THE GOAL GETTER – 35 Different Ways to Reach Your Goals was released in November 2015.

For further information, log onto www.gerryduffyacademy.com

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