Yes you can - marathons come down to willpower

Robert McNamara says a little bit of willpower goes a long way.

WHEN I speak to people about running the Irish Examiner Cork City marathon on Monday, the first thing they usually say is: “Oh I could never do that.” Well actually, they can if they change the way they think about it.

The nation got itself in a tizzy when Barack Obama came here with his oh so American “Yes We Can” slogan in 2011.

Everyone got a bit tired of all the positivity by the end of his trip even if they wouldn’t admit it.

READ MORE: From ’Budda Belly’ to 42k as Alan tackles first marathon

It was almost as if the country was collectively saying: “Positivity? No, I wouldn’t like that sort of thing now at all. Too much of that and you’d get carried away with yourself and be out all night drinking and gambling.”

No, the Irish psyche is much more self-deprecating and painfully modest.

Nearly two and a half million people have seen the Sminky Short entitled ‘I Can’t Do It’ on Youtube.

It’s much more in-line with the way Irish people think than all that ‘Just Do It’ guff.

It’s a hilarious video but it’s also extremely clever because it has an underlying theme that most overlook.

Two horses stand in a field. One is overcome with fear about jumping over a puddle.

The second horse offers alternatives such as walking through it but the fearful horse remains adamant that he “can’t do it”.

It’s not until he’s given the option to walk around it that he realises that he can actually do it and it wasn’t that bad after all.

Things are not always as arduous as you think and there’s always more than one way of doing something.

You don’t have to be able to run a marathon right now in order to run one in six months. You start slowly and you build up to it through your training and it’s the same for anything you want to achieve in life.

All you need is the desire to do it and persistence. The more you do something, the better you get.

Once you’ve done a marathon your mindset is completely flipped. I’m not saying that you’ll be running around beating your chest and shouting ‘bring it on’ after it but you’ll certainly approach things in a different way.

After I completed my first marathon in 2011 I couldn’t walk properly for a week but I knew it was the start of something. What had previously seemed out of my reach was now attainable.

The guts and will it took filtered into other aspects of my life. I used to give up when things weren’t going my way and then procrastinate on what to do next as I felt I’d failed.

Thanks to running, I now realise that there isn’t really such a thing as failure, just many, many different ways of approaching things.

I still mess up every day of my life. I go about things the wrong way and make a complete hash of them. If I didn’t how would I ever learn?

How do you know you can’t do a marathon or a half-marathon or a 10K? You don’t. But once you try running, you’ll never say “I can’t do it” again.

READ MORE: From ’Budda Belly’ to 42k as Alan tackles first marathon

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