On August 11, 2012, I ran my first half-marathon. I wasn’t sure what to expect. All I knew was that I wanted to perform at my best (and as you can see in the photo below, I was happy with my performance). While making my manual for race-day success, I realized that so many of the same strategies can help me achieve my best self in life and motherhood.
“Success comes from knowing that you did your best to become the best that you are capable of becoming.” – John Wooden
8 Tips To Help You Achieve Your Personal Best
1. Rest. Hydrate. Eat well. Do yoga
Runners: while training for the race, I made sure I did those four activities diligently. I knew my success depended on how regularly I did them while training.
Moms: your quality of life is guaranteed to improve if you get enough of this tip (and add in a sweat session)—everyday.
2. Wake up early, get zen and eat breakfast
Runners: On race day, I woke up before 5 a.m., had breakfast, watched the sunrise, arrived on scene an hour early and meditated. It was what I needed to calm my nerves and prepare myself physically, mentally, and emotionally for the event.
Moms: this tip sets the tone for the day. Customize it by adding morning rituals that uplift you.
3. Look like a winner
Runners: I’m not that girl who wears make up to the gym. But on race day, I put a little braid in my hair and wore a little lip tint. I also cleaned my runners and threw on my “run like a mother” tank top. I felt like winner. When you dress the part you play the part.
Moms: this tip applies to new mothers, stay-at-home mothers, and work-at-home mothers. I’ve been caught blogging in my PJ’s in mid-afternoon, far too many times. When you’re at home most of the day, it’s tempting to lounge around looking unkempt in over-sized tee’s. Your energy level tends to match the amount of effort you put into looking good. So, get dressed.
4. Unplug to get connected
Runners: you’ve heard of ‘runner’s high’. Well, imagine the collective high of thousands of runners—it’s an energy booster that is bound to help you during a race. However, when you wear your headphones, you tune out and miss out on all those endorphins.
Moms: I know that if I don’t make an effort to unplug regularly, my internet addiction takes over. If you’re too busy ‘tweeting’ to hear your child whining for attention, you need to unplug.
5. Underpromise. Overdeliver.
Runners: I set my goal at 2h 20 min knowing that it was definitely attainable, yet not a walk in the park. I finished at 2h 8 min with a sprint to the finish line. Going beyond your expectations, definitely beats disappointment.
Moms: we need to stop trying to convince ourselves, and everyone else, that we can do it all. Take on one less commitment than you think you can handle. After that, if you have more in you to give, go for it!
6. Use Mantras
Runners: around the 14-km mark, I was really struggling. I even found myself fantasizing about taking a shortcut in my most desperate moment. I took a deep breathe and repeated, “lighter, softer, stronger faster”, until I got out of the funk.
Moms: mantras work like magic during meltdowns (your kid’s and your own). I find that the most effective mantras are short, positive and instructive.
7. Keep calm and carry on
Runners: one of my goals for the race was to run without stopping (unless it was unhealthy to continue, of course). Long before the finish line, I got blisters on my feet and my legs were begging me to stop. I didn’t stop until I reached the finish line.
Moms: once the mantras restore your calm and you’ve dealt with the crisis, move on. Don’t dwell on the on it. This is a good one to keep in mind when s*** happens (in the bathtub, while you’re giving the kid a bath, for instance. Moving on…).
Last, but not least…
8. Reward yourself
Runners: after the race, I had a mini-getaway in the mountains where natural hot springs awaited my sore body. How does this help you achieve your personal best time for your next race? Simple. Rewards motivate us to work harder. You’ll run faster if you know there’s something amazing that awaits at the finish line.
Moms: being a mother isn’t an easy job. Make sure you take time out for yourself to recharge and rejuvenate. It’s not selfish, it’s self-preserving. Everyone benefits when you are your best self.
Which of the 8 tips do you think will be most helpful when striving for your personal best (in running and/or motherhood)?
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I'm Nat Nanton, founder of Tutu Mama. Becoming a mother has made me commit to living my greatest life. If you can relate to that, you're in the right place.
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