For most of this year at work, the powers that be have been drumming the importance of purpose, values and objectives into us on a weekly basis. Of course, this is mostly a smoke screen, as the Clash put it, to make a load of money and worry about it later. Despite it being very business-driven, I can relate to it and see how I apply something similar in my life.
This thought process began recently when I was thinking through a solo walk that I completed (post to follow, but I walked the 103-mile Cotswold Way). I was wondering about why I had decided to do it, and realised that it was inextricably linked to an objective from four years ago, and generally most of what I do is in alignment with this goal. It gives a tremendous sense of purpose and helps categorise what each specific exercise was for and where it fits in in the grand picture – in short, nothing is for nothing.
Whilst walking, I understood why I was doing it and where it fitted in. It’s refreshing, because as my end objective is to complete the Cotswold Way 100 ultra marathon, you could easily assume that in order to achieve it, I should be focusing solely on running, but not so. Completing the whole route walking, for example, is a huge mental victory, knowing I’ve covered every inch before, reducing the size of the monster in my mind. I employed this same tactic when passing the Fan Dance in 2019. I made trips down to the Brecon Beacons in the months prior just to walk and camp, familiarising myself with the environment instead of associating it with the struggles of the previous two attempts. It turned a previously intimidating environment into somewhere that I knew as intimately as my local hills.
There I was in 2017, looking for a challenge, and I found the Cotswold Way 100. “Great”, I thought, “I’ll get training for that. How hard can it be if I just train loads?” From reading the entry requirements, previous evidence of completed ultra marathons was needed, which I hadn’t got, so I entered two events in 2018. Straight away, my 2017 training and mantra aligned with this goal, which was aligning with the end goal. Most of my training had purpose.
Long term readers will know that I attempted the 2019 edition of the CW100 and failed, which is why I’m still striving to reach that goal. In the years following that, I have added more and more aspects to my training from physical and mental prep, to nutrition and purposeful training sessions which have, to be quite honest, refreshing and enjoyable. Every new habit, or daily exercise feels like all the small grains of sand pouring in-between stones in a bucket until it is completely full.
Why half-invest yourself in multiple goals and risk achieving none, when you can go all out to achieve a massive one? Have a think: quantity vs quality. Most of all, be patient and always believe in yourself. Oh, and don’t worry what everyone else is doing – we’re all as clueless as eachother.