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  • Writer's pictureMatt DeLong

Hard Things = Conditioning Your Mind

This past Friday, Dec 31st was rough. I had just got back from Christmas with the family in Hawaii and hadn’t run in 2 weeks. I had never run a 26.2 mile (46.2 kilometers) marathon distance, but for some reason, it sounded like a good idea to squeeze in a marathon run before the New Year.

My usual go-to distance is a 4.5 mile (7.3 kilometers) run in the mornings (rain or snow makes no difference) but this was almost 6x my usual distance. Again, I have never run a 26.2 mile marathon distance, Like, Ever!!. I’ve run plenty of 1/2 marathon distances and completed an Olympic triathlon and a half Ironman previously, but this was truly surpassing my previous running distances.

Just Do It, Don’t Overthink It

I hadn’t really thought about it much when I decided to pursue the challenge. After all, how hard is a 26.2 mile run? Hydration, nutrition, stretching. Didn’t think much about it and I would later regret it.

Friday, I met up with a local bearded gentleman with plenty of marathon experience distances, in fact, he had finished a marathon distance each day that week — each day in a row. Crazy, huh? What is the difference between us? If he can do it, I can do it! It’s humanly possible, right?

The difference between us was a simple word: Conditioning.

What have you conditioned yourself for in this new year? For me, a 4.5 mile run is no big deal, for other people it may seem like a “I could never do that” type distance that is daunting. A 45 minute run is no big real, I’m conditioned for it. Again, it’s all based on conditioning — which comes from pushing yourself beyond your current limits. The more time pushing yourself to do something, the stronger the conditioning.

Then This Happened

Around mile 18, I hit “the wall”! That’s the invisible barrier runners face when running longer distances. I was done, the cramps in my calves, my hip flexors stiffening up, my big toes were traumatized, the blisters all told me I was done. I was somewhere feeling a cocktail of exhaustion, dehydration, and like I was just in a car accident.

If I quit, I would have certainly set a new PR (personal record) for running distance and that thought crossed my mind, for a brief moment, but that was it. That’s not how winners think. I had to control my thoughts & feelings.

Dominate Thoughts

But you know what? I had committed to go the distance and even though I wasn’t feeling it, I kept going. I finished!! Andy Frisella calls it your bitch voice vs your boss voice. Why do we so often let our feelings dictate what we do? Who’s the boss? Our feelings -or- our mindset?

Which one do you let dominate your thoughts? I fought on, doing a mix of hobbling, running and walking. About 6 hours in, I looked at my Garmin watch and I had less than a mile left to cross the finish line. I stopped thinking about the discomfort and started thinking about the finish line.

Finishing Strong

Quitting wasn’t an option, so I pressed on, finishing my 26.2 mile run in a tad over 6 hours. I literally ignored the discomfort and guess what? It wasn’t prominent in my mind and I was able to forget about it (temporarily). The aches and pain were NOT going to last as long as the memory of what was achieved. I focused on finishing and nothing else. There was no crowd cheering, no finisher medals, just 2 guys running around random hilly roads in Tennessee. So many hills!!

What’s the Lesson? The things you focus on will expand! Pain? Discomfort? OR Victory? Goals? Achievement? Make sure you focus on the right things. I hadn’t come this far just to come this far and quit. How often have we set out a new goal only to rationalize reasons why coming up short is ok. We tried, right? Don’t be that person.

New Year!!

In this new year, can we commit to making ourselves uncomfortable, to push ourselves beyond what is comfortable, beyond the things we are familiar and comfortable with? Can you pull ahead of your average peers by giving it that little extra? After all, the difference between ordinary and extraordinary is “that little extra”.

Can we pursue greatness and who knows, that tough mindset from endurance events can easily spill over into trading. Do you think there is a connection? Shoot me an email and tell me about your first marathon experience.

Matt DeLong


Real Life Trading

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