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You, the Runner 10 Years from Now

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

Before we start with this lesson, I would like you to please recall the last time you bought something that was somewhat expensive, maybe you couldn’t even afford it and there were a lot of reasons against it. But you went out and you bought it anyway. Do you have the item in mind? For me, it was a brand-new MacBook. Honestly, the current one I had was still good enough but somehow, I wanted it. Do you have your item? Excellent, keep it in mind we will need it later.

When I was a kid, my mother, I really didn’t make it easy for her. How often didn’t I heard “Heiko, you must study, you are not doing this for school, you are doing this for your future”.

Who has heard that before, with your name of course, not Heiko. Study, get smart. “Yes, mom”. It is a rational piece of information, that may be emotionally didn’t reach us at all. Pro arguments are emotional.

I don’t know how it was with you, but those things that I really put effort into, that I really worked for, were always things that I wanted. It was like an internal sensation, “yes, I am going to do this, for me”. And it didn’t bug me if others were against it, or have a different opinion, I didn’t care.

Outside information came inside, got internalized, and got transferred into motivation. And the things that I wanted to do, always came from inside of me.

Never from outside. Information, yes. But the motivation to do, to get it done, came from inside.

But if I don’t seriously ask myself, have a serious heart-to-heart: where I want to end up in my hobby of running. What is this running journey all about? Without that, just getting a finisher medal and a t-shirt you will most probably never wear, won’t do it.

So, we agree, there must be something additional from inside. Something “that’s where I want to end up”. “That’s how I want to be at a certain time in my life.”

And this I need to feel, not as information. If you just want the information, the doctor will give it to you but usually we never act on it, it is informative but does not ignite an internal reaction to get active.

I, you, we humans, we need to feel it. This lesson is the substitute for “I just run every now and then” to transfer this to change this into a power statement I run because it makes me feel alive. For example. I love to challenge myself, with time, and distance. And for this, we can use a process.

That we as human beings, use the capability that we have, to copy, model, reproduce. To copy a process so that we get an emotional reference point. So that we know what it will feel like 5 or 10 years from now you can look back to a running career you are proud of.

Now when I use this technique in a real-life training environment it is really important only to do this after the limiting beliefs from lesson 3 have been solved. In case you haven’t yet done that very important step, please return to lesson three and first complete that section of the lesson.

Play along with this lesson. And for best effect you should repeat it.

I know something about you, without even knowing you. You already know exactly where you don’t want to end up as a runner. Let’s start there. Today take some time and use pen and paper to write down the following thoughts that come through your mind when you listen to scenario one.

Scenario 1. What I Don’t Want

Here I am. 50 years old, a big barbeque with good friends all around. Telling them how I once ran a marathon. My wife gave me the sign which means “stop it, you’ve told this a million times”. She thinks no one cares, but I haven’t even gotten to the part where I crossed the finish line yet. And yes, it seems the guests have heard this story before I happen to realize this as I eloquently describe that running used to be a top priority hobby for me. But hey, you know how it goes, half-hearted nods from the few remaining audience members.

I wonder where that medal is? The running shoes have long been relegated to “working around the house” kind of shoes, and the next-door neighbor who seems to run every day somehow provokes feelings of irritation inside of me. I really should get my blood pressure checked, and I wonder when those test results will get back? I mean the Doctor told me to lose a couple of pounds but how bad can it be right? Everyone's a little overweight at this stage in life, am I right? I wonder what’s for dessert.

Please proceed and add more details as you read through your notes again. Make it a complete story, make it as believable and as realistic as possible. Your story. Your examples.

Take a new sheet of paper and hear the heading is the scenario too, what I do want.

Scenario 2. What I Want

I am 50 years old. An athletic build, feeling light on my feet, accelerating the last couple of yards as I head on towards the finish line. There, another successfully completed 10K run. A quick glance at my stopwatch, “yes, I still got it”, not bad for a 50-year-old, I grin as I receive a "well done".

As I head home, my neighbor has a barbeque, I meet new people, and am introduced as “the runner”. I feel a bit shy for a second, “he’s fifty” I hear someone say “run every day” as I notice getting looks but it is all good-natured. Standing next to the host of the barbeque I am asked about my running and how I manage to do it, with regard to health, time, and how I stay so motivated. But the host saves me, talks about a marathon he once ran.

Now obviously this is just an example of a story how I would write it for myself. What is important is that you invest some time in creating a story that will apply to you, little feel like it is yours. It doesn’t have to be a barbecue scenario obviously, it can be a story where you are with your family, or with a group of runners. The important thing is that you imagine that as though it really happens. And you created it so that you immerse yourself and get an emotional reference.

Do you recall what I asked you to do in the beginning of this lesson? That item that you bought, that you perhaps couldn’t afford, and many reasons spoke against it. It might be a very expensive fitness watch or a new running gear. Whatever it was, you bought something like that because you were pulled into the decision-making process by emotions. And exactly this emotional pull effect is what you need to get to in scenario two. That is why it is extremely important to pay attention to details when you create your scenario to what I want.

If you do the scenario half-heartedly, and you have no emotional reference the exercise will not work, it will feel half-hearted and have no effect. So take your time, note down what you see, who are the people that are talking to you, what are the words they are saying, are they laughing, are they listening and admiration, are they hanging on every word you’re speaking. Plus what are you feeling when you notice that they want you to speak? They want you to give more detail.

For me, I always enjoy adding a certain race event where I cross the finish line. No, not as a winner but as a finisher. That is a win for me. I cannot control the competition but I can control my efforts. Especially my future vision that I have of a runner. The more you do this exercise the more powerful it will be ingrained, the more your brain will start focusing on this image which will then light up your internal motivation.

You need to focus on making this exercise a top priority, there are many factors that are fighting for your attention, a lot less stressful and easier things you can do than a regular run. Therefore, you need to really start enjoying doing this exercise, with lightheartedness, even exaggeration and who knows what dreams this might lead to.

You would not be the first runner that I know, well that attended my workshop we actually ended up completing in one year six marathons. Two in the US, three in Europe and one in the Middle East. What an amazing accomplishment that all came out of the what I want scenario. She saw the entrance to her house where she had a wall decorated with medals, flight tickets, photos of exotic locations, and this image she had of her hallway became her source of inspiration to really do great things.

Great things for her, for her value system. That is why you need to create your own power story in this exercise. It will be the best time you invest today.

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

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Written by

Heiko Stribl