Staying in the Driving Seat

The Long Game: Work, Life, Marathon Training

Back in January 2018 I found DrivenWoman in Soho, London. The group was just what I was looking for – marathon training for my life. I’d given myself some time out to create Endurance Women, and to continue developing my consultancy and content marketing agency into a sustainable and growing business.

Exactly one year before, in January 2017, I’d lost my dad, a man I loved and a huge influence in my life. He was ‘back up’ and someone who I always turned to in times of trouble. A month before signing up to DrivenWoman I’d hit 50. It felt as if life was changing, and I knew that as I entered my 50s I wanted the next decade to be a time when I would say the famous line from the Invictus poem: ‘I am the master of my fate, I am the captain of my soul,’ – and know it was true, not just something I aspired to be.

Comfort Zone? I’ll get my coat

2018 was a year where I once again took myself out of my comfort zone by training for and completing an Ironman. I’m familiar with this kind of comfort zone exit, as I’ve made endurance part of my life and have lived an endurance lifestyle since I was 34. By that I mean regularly racing, training and striving to run (I’ve done more running that cycling and swimming) faster and further. For over a decade, I was rewarded with medals and good times and running became part of my identity. I got comfortable with being a competitive club runner. But at 50, I found a new discomfort – I was getting slower at running, and as 2018 went on, ‘challenges’ meant Ironman wasn’t going to be an endurance event where I’d explore my physical prowess, it was literally all about just keeping going (check out my Ironman Blog for the full story). At the same time as I moved away from being just a freelancer to become an established consultancy /boutique agency, I felt vulnerable. I was scared. My identity was shook!

DrivenWoman

This is where DrivenWoman stepped in and held my hand and would prove to be a place where I could explore, and face myself, where I’d be accountable. Meeting once a month I could practically apply the familiar principles of training to life: setting goals, targets and planning what I needed to do to achieve what I wanted. Consistently turning up, consistently doing what was required to cross my finish line.

Like marathon running, progress in life and at work, when you have a bigger vision, does take time. And one of things I’ve had to learn, as I did when I first started running marathons, is this requires patience. Anyone who knows me would laugh out loud reading that. I’m famous for having no patience! Ironic, then that I should choose marathon running and self-employed/entrepreneurism as my path to self-fulfilment!

I’ve had my patience, and my resilience tested. Training for the Ironman involved lots of twists and turns. I fell off my bike and broke my collarbone for a second time last year, 10-weeks off the Ironman and at a point when I was just starting to feel strong – I had to get back on my bike. In running, I’m making a slow return to form and have had to go back to basics. My biomechanics are compromised from a combination of training on the bike, a hip with restricted movement, resulting in running with a less efficient running gait. I’m working on that!

In business, the journey hasn’t been linear, I’ve had some big successes and some spectacular flops. The next stage is positive, as I’m lucky enough to be joining a business accelerator course, where I’ll get support, mentoring and office space – a bit like joining a running club and doing speed sessions for the first time. We all need support and to accountability.

Join DrivenWoman in April

If you need support, and have a bigger vision, it might be time to join us in Brighton at DrivenWoman. In April, DrivenWoman’s chosen exercise hones in on ‘Excuses’ and how the excuses we make reveals what our real fear about moving forward to our bigger vision is all about. By looking at excuses we expose the fear, the thing that might stop us from moving forward.

Back in 2018, I exposed my excuse, my story – it was about age. I’m getting older so that’s why I’m slower, I’m getting older so it’s harder to connect with brands/agencies. By recognising this, looking at it, and directing it, I was able to dismiss it and move on, constructively to my bigger vision of business and running success.

If you want to join me at DrivenWoman you can sign up online HERE. Or email me, fiona@endurancewomen.com.



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7 Life Lessons from Endurance Women

Endurance training and racing is a great metaphor for a successful and happy work and home life and applying the principles of endurance can teach us many key life lessons.

Endurance Women are…

1. Consistent

We do the same thing week in week out. Training can be boring, it can be hard, it’s not rocket science and one of the key things is just doing it. Once you’ve made a commitment to it, it’s a case of doing it day after day, week in, week out. Any elite athlete will tell you consistency is one of the key components of success. The same can be said of going to work and repeating daily tasks, doing the housework, the food shopping, getting the kids to school. The buzz, the excitement, of gold medals, promotion and great exam results, won’t happen without the doing!

2. Focussed

Endurance women set a goal, whether it be a race, or training session goal and they stick to it. Taking part in events for running, triathlon, open water swimming, cycling gives you a linear path to follow. The goal is crossing the finish line, whether it’s 5K or a 500-mile trek across Asia. Big or small, goals are simply the end point, and help set you on the path of doing. Goal-setting works in life, as the famous Harvard business school study showed when students who wrote down their goals were found to be the achievers 35 years on.

3. Patient

In 2002 before setting up my own residential running courses and doing my first marathon, I joined a training group run by Keith Anderson. He taught me the importance of patience when it comes to marathon running. As they say it’s a marathon not a sprint. Longer events take longer to prepare for. There are no quick fixes. Similarly, if you’re starting your own business, working on a marriage, raising children, you have to take the rough with the smooth, work at it, be patient, keep doing, be consistent, persistent and positive.

4. Positive

A positive mindset means you look at what we’ve achieved not what you haven’t. Endurance Women celebrate success, and yes, we have learnt the right to brag on social media; if you want to wear your meal after a race, go ahead! The very action of doing endurance sport, makes a person more positive, as the blood flows and you’re body moves, getting outside in the fresh air, being sociable makes it easier to look on the bright side. Saying yes to life, being positive is one of the keys to a successful and happy life.

5. Boundary-free

Endurance Women live life to the full. They never say never. They have what Carol Dweck calls a ‘ growth mindset’, open to challenges, open to ideas, open to opportunities. This doesn’t mean pushing too hard in SAS style, it does mean not giving up. This is about stretching yourself and seeing where you can go in a relaxed and meaningful way. We live in a world of opportunity with more doors open than ever before, see where you can go, but remember there’s no pressure.

6. In the Moment

Endurance Women learn to stay in the moment. Ultra runners like Jo Kilkenny, recent winner of Deadwater, a 235 mile run over six days, who I interviewed for EW Stories, tells me that  you have to take each step as it comes, and break the distance down. Looking at the bigger picture is overwhelming. Whatever your goal, or dream is, break it down into manageable chunks, and enjoy where you are. It’s the core message of time-management books, of mindfulness, of self-improvement tomes and as the saying goes, ‘every journey starts with a single step’. Just thinking about the step you’re in is a good way to live.

7. Resilient/Persistent

Two qualities of Endurance Women that feed into one. Endurance training and racing teaches you to be resilient. A puncture on a bike ride, a cramp on a long run, a panic in a swim, to endure all of this requires you stay in the moment, to not panic and as you do this, you build your resilience. Being resilient allows you to persist with your dreams and goals. The more times you don’t let a knock-back set you back, the better you become at learning to handle failure, the further you will go.

Book one-to-one Performance For Life Coaching with Fiona.

Join Fiona at Driven Woman Introduction Workshop in Brighton and start to dream big and make things happen for you – today!

READ MORE….

A Freelancer? Business owner? Part of the gig economy?

Check out my article, 7 Ways Endurance Sport Can you Help you Survive the ‘Non 9-5’.

 

Endurance Women At Work

Here we’ll show how being an endurance woman, with a ‘can do’ mindset can help you navigate your way through working life as your life changes. From changing relationships, moving houses and growing a family, here we look at ways an endurance woman’s attitude can help shape your personal development with your working life.

 

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