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Become a No Excuses Runner: Overcome Limiting Beliefs

This lesson is a part of an audio course Become a No Excuses Runner by Heiko Stribl

I am very excited to present your number three, it’s a vital building block in these seven lessons that will enable you to experience a run performance on a whole new level.

But you want to know something? The first time I heard this, this technique, I thought "yeah, right, sure… " I am supposed to ask a couple of questions, and then something changes. "yes, hmm, sure and then I end up feeling better?".

In one of my running workshops, there was a very experienced therapeutic coach, a successful author of many books. She also wanted to improve her run time and she knew some of the methods that I use. But this method she had only heard about, and you know how it is. Reading about swimming or swimming can be different things. Just from the feeling, the actual doing, the fun factor, the experience. Well then during this exercise, which we are going to do right now, it can also end up being quite emotional.

When I realize that because of this limiting belief, the last 30 years or whatever. I feel it. And what I want to say is something moves, something changes.

Now with your permission, I would want to conduct this a little lightheartedly. Without undermining the effective and powerful changes that can occur, is ok? And before we start, I want to ask you, just focus, go inside yourself and see where that is “yes” – feeling. I know it is there somewhere, what is it currently doing?

Before we start, there might be someone who cannot relate to this. Who thinks “nope, I don’t have any limiting beliefs”? If that is you, then just ask yourself, are you as a runner or in other areas of your life exactly where you want to be? And if there are areas where I am not where I want to be, why not? And why not yet, and then you will quickly find the one or other belief that is holding you back.

The questions we will address are the following:

  • What is a limiting belief?
  • Why is it a limiting belief in your running?
  • What limiting beliefs do runners struggle with?
  • Limiting beliefs about run distances.
  • How to overcome your running limiting beliefs?
  • What is a limiting belief? Anything that will constrain you, anything that will be holding you back. But I’m getting ahead of myself.

There is a fantastic quote by Mahatma Gandhi and yes I’m aware he’s not a runner but these words are fully applicable to a running environment: man often becomes what he believes himself to be – if I keep on saying to myself that I cannot do a certain thing it is possible that I may, in the end, become incapable of doing it. On the contrary, if I have to believe that I can do it, I shall surely acquire the capacity to do it even if I may not have it at the beginning.

In modern media, there is a lot written about limiting beliefs, so many runners approached me when I discussed this topic, and it seems they are keener to prove something to me than they are to see the benefits. Of course, if currently you are overweight, and are struggling to run 2 km, running a marathon must be a long-term goal. Here we don’t speak of a limiting belief but must set different goals.

Limiting beliefs are not about finding evidence something is not doable. It’s not about proving a certain point, it is about identifying something that you are convinced of is never possible for you, and you have buried the topic, and don’t even remember actually why.

Any belief that is unquestioned & prevents you from reaching your run goal is a limiting belief.

Limiting belief prevents you from seeing what is truly possible. Quite often it was lovingly passed on from a parent, "running is not for you" or from a senior who only had best intentions whilst telling you about the swollen knees and the severe pains once you run a marathon.

A limiting belief shapes everything about you as a runner, what you need to do is identified, by self-inquiry turning the spotlight on it and then bringing it out into daylight.

I will always be a slow runner.

Running a marathon would never be possible for me.

To run trails is not possible with my knees. Not doing not even trying to improve or work on those weak areas, that exactly is the limiting belief. Not even searching for possible solutions or alternatives, is what starts off a vicious cycle. We don’t do something we should, because of a feeling. And then this gets reinforced.

Thank goodness overcoming limiting belief is a straightforward thing you can do right now during this lesson.

Ask yourself this question, if that’s what you’re thinking is really true. I am a slow runner, is this really true? Don’t try and prove that it is correct by recalling slow run times. You ran, didn’t you? Perhaps you never really followed training plans, never did tempo runs or the distances you are currently running are not allowing you to give the best performance. But definitely, you have not been dead-last in every single race you have run? So, it’s not really true that you are a slow runner. It might just be a title you have given yourself.

Next thing, ask yourself what is the reason that you have held onto this belief for such a long time? Maybe it was a lack of willingness to train harder, lack of ambition, maybe your running goals need to be adjusted.

Sometimes, we have a reason that protects us from something or other, but in the meantime, the situation has changed. Might be that you couldn’t invest the time in training as you had work or family obligations, but kids grow up, careers change but a belief needs to be looked at and assessed anew.

I will never be able to run long distances or a marathon is something I won’t be capable of. Strange thing is, that the marathon is the same distance for everyone. For professional, recreational, or first-time runners. The difficulties involved in overcoming those kilometers are the same for everyone. It is just that some deal with them more effectively than others.

The peaceful reason for having this limiting belief might be, that you heard of so many friends, other runners that suffered injuries that you somehow projected this on yourself.

But just for a second imagine if you had never heard about those injuries, if you had never met those people that struggled, perhaps you would have tried to train towards a marathon, you might have experienced that endurance can be expanded and that once you achieve a certain distance to go to the next level becomes easier and if you are truly honest with yourself

As you’re going to proceed with these four questions, just imagine you’re sitting in front of yourself or asking yourself like a powerful TV journalist investigative reporter would be asking his prey of the day, posing hard factual questions.

The steps you need to follow are always the same:

  1. Is that really true? Am I really a slow, short distance, not capable of adding whatever would you want to – runner?
  2. Question: is the above statement really absolutely true? Does it 100% apply, or have you never really tried, or if you have tried how often have you tried once? Do you really want to Basit on one try?
  3. What might have been if you never ever had that belief? If from a young age she would have been running what might you have accomplished by now? What body weight would you be having? What capabilities would you have developed as a runner?
  4. What could be a new belief for example changing the statement I am a slow runner to something positive; I am a runner. I am a runner who is training and growing every day.

End of exercise. You will realize that this lesson was a success when you feel a source of power. When you are running and imagining you are a freight train, and those wagons behind you have filled with your talents your abilities, pushing you and perhaps you just see that runner, that person who gave you that limiting belief as you speed by and can’t even hear a word, you are on your way, full of powerful intrinsic motivation.

Thank you for listening to this course on Listenable! I hope you enjoyed it.

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Written by

Heiko Stribl