As the Marathon Mind journey continues to build towards race day on 13th November in Mullingar, we caught up with the 4 amazing participants who have been challenged mentally, physically and emotionally over the past 8 months. If you’re new to the Marathon Mind journey, you can learn more about it, and the incredible participants, here.
Let’s hear more from participant #4, Danny Leahy, who is living in Larchfield, Co. Cork and is the eldest of 5. A die-hard Munster and Irish Rugby fan, Danny has powered through the last 8 months physically and mentally in the hope of proving to himself that he can overcome the biggest of obstacles. Tragically, suicide has affected Danny’s family life and he’s hoping that this journey can help him to take control of his future path and face up to some of life’s biggest challenges. It’s impressive to hear the dedication and trusting of the process that Danny has shown since starting the Marathon Mind journey. Please read on to hear some of the useful techniques that have helped him on his way.
Danny, how’s it going for you overall?
It’s going well! It’s hard to get a true reflection when you’re stuck in the middle of it all but once you take a step back to look at the past 7 months or so, you can really see a massive change and a sense of progress which is really uplifting. I’ve enjoyed the challenge and you know, I’m going to keep doing all that I can and the most important thing is to trust the process!
Talk to me a little bit about the challenge of this journey.
It’s definitely a combination of being a mental and physical battle. It’s tough when you’re out doing the long kilometres to keep the body going, especially when you might still be sore from a strength & conditioning session or a previous run, but generally I can deal with the physical aches. There have been moments over the past 7 months where you hit that mental wall and that’s probably when things get a bit trickier!
How do you overcome those moments?
To be honest during the runs, I’ve never actually mentally stopped as such. I’ve always managed to get through it. But you’re on such a high after a good long run that getting yourself geared up for the next one can be the hardest part and there’s been times when I’ve taken a break here and there. It definitely helps you to recharge and refresh to go again. The mindfulness sessions and having access to an expert in psychology has definitely helped along the way too.
That’s interesting, what do those sessions involve?
It’s something that I would have never done before this journey and I really feel like it’s something that I’ll continue to do into the future. Just taking 5 or 10 minutes to follow a breathing exercise, a thought exercise or even writing a few things down. One that I’ve really found useful is the ‘Stop exercise’ and I’ve used it on days when I’ve been feeling low or just off form. You just sit down to observe your own current inner state and it really helps you to take stock of the situation and control your emotions to realise what’s really important.
The running itself - what does it do for you?
It’s absolutely perfect for clearing the head, I must say. Don’t get me wrong, I can’t wait to go back kicking a ball but when this journey is over, but I really do see myself staying involved in running whether that is in shorter races or even just a couple of times a week for that release. There’s nothing like it when it comes to relieving stress and just getting away from whatever is going on at work or other aspects of life.
Any final thoughts?
One thing that’s actually pretty ironic is that when you feel it’s overwhelming and you’ve got too much going on, it’s actually doing those things like the mindfulness exercises and psychology sessions that help you cope with everything that is going on. So while they’re another thing on the agenda, they turn out to be some of the most valuable moments of my week. A final remark is just to believe in yourself and trust that the process will get you there.
The Marathon Mind journey reaches its conclusion on Saturday, November 13th as all participants come together in Mullingar to run the marathon which is very exciting!! If you’d like to learn more or if you’re interested in joining them, you can find out more here.