Building Resilience through Sport

What is Resilience?  Resilience is the ability to bounce back, know how to cope with setbacks, learn how to manage yourself and your resources, it is also the ability to function in times of stress, recover, adapt and change.  However, do we know what skills we need to pick ourselves back up.  Why do we need to develop resilience? Without this skill, it is easy to give up, this could apply to any area of life, study, career or sport.  One of the skills for developing resilience is perseverance, it is defined as the continued effort to keep going.    Where do we start?  You can start by building your mental resilience through enhancing your health and well-being.

Some simple steps to start with are:  to improve your physical health by eating well and exercising, develop your sleeping habits, incorporate meditation through mindfulness, celebrate your successes and achievements.  This is fine when everything is going well, but what about when something comes along to throw us off course?  Compare this to a gymnast balancing on a beam, how many times do they wobble and fall? It is only with determination through getting back on the beam, pushing through with persistence will they achieve their objectives and advance to perform a complex routine. 

Psychology of Marathon Running

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Participants competing in long endurance events such as the Marathon has steadily risen over the years.  Data taken of both demographic and socio-economic groups from various studies has seen a rise in running becoming a popular sport.

The Marathon runner embarks on this challenge for many reasons and they must adapt their lifestyle and training far beyond the recreational exerciser to include high levels of demanding physiological and psychological adaptations to push beyond their current capabilities.  Furthermore, the rewards and positive benefits of this training will outweigh the negatives of marathon running.

The London Marathon is my third marathon, as a veteran runner I have improved with age, both on personal performance together with a faster post marathon recovery rate.  Training for a Marathon demands a consistent, disciplined, structured routine which will manifest into other areas of the runners life to include; personal goal achievement, better life management, psychological and emotional strategies for coping and better vitality and health.

London Marathon – Running Injuries

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Injuries are inevitable when participating in endurance events and can occur as a result of a breakdown in tissue and muscles being overloaded. With just over one week to go until London Marathon 2019, my plantar fasciitis has flared up again.  This condition can causes inflammation of the plantar fascia, a thin layer of tough tissue supporting the arch of the foot.  Rest and ice are the best form of treatment together with a performance based Pilates exercise programme for the core, such as side plank, integrating foot muscle strengthening and flexibility in the lower limbs.

Camino & Resilience

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The route continued to Palas De Rei. After leaving Portomarin, crossing the River Mino we continued uphill steadily through woodland, the rain continued and got heavier and heavier. Continuing through small hamlets, passing the Hospital de la Cruz. Arriving at Vendas de Naron to get a ‘pilgrim stamp’ the old Romanesque Chapel, then continuing along the paved path, arriving at Sierra de Ligonde which offered fantastic views over the valleys. Particular parts of the route were isolated and quiet, apart from a rather large dog. The fog was dense and we were soaked through.

Approaching A Calzada the weather was so bad, we took shelter under a tree. There were other walkers, one an Australian man, we had met further back in other towns.  After discussing the weather, our blisters, stories of one walker getting frostbite back in the Pyrenees, our conversation compared the weather to life and the Camino, there are good and bad times, but we must press forwards.

The Camino de Santiago builds resilience, both emotionally and physically, it enables us to develop a positive mind and can-do-attitude.  We can integrate resilience into our lives on a daily basis, by being more active, getting more sleep and eating well, forgiving ourselves and resolving conflict. These small steps can help us improve our mental health and to face everyday challenges.