Your limits are NOT your limits – you just think they are!


If running has taught me anything over the years it is that there are NO limits except those that we put on ourselves to keep us comfortable. Indeed this is true, not only of running but of life itself.

Personally I have gone from total physical wreck with no running experience to sub 16 minute 5k and, later in life, from overweight couch potato to Ironman distance triathlete and trail running nearly 200 miles in 7 days, climbing 30,000 feet in the process. I say this, not to blow my own trumpet, but to demonstrate that it’s all about motivation and the mind. If these are right, the body will follow, but if you prefer to stay comfortable then, not only will you not develop as a runner or human being, but you will eventually regress. Neither life nor sport has anything to do with striving to be comfortable.

To improve at anything you need not only to practice repeatedly but to constantly challenge yourself and push beyond the limits of what feels comfortable. This is the whole principle of physical training – stress in order to adapt – and exactly the same applies to the mind. In fact the two are so inextricably entwined they cannot be separated. Evolution shows clearly that our brain has developed in response to the challenges of our environment. In fact, the only reason we have a brain at all is to negotiate our way through the environment, specifically to find food or to avoid being eaten. This is proven by the fact that certain species have seen their brains shrink because they have no need to go looking for food. Perhaps the same will happen to us over time? Movement and challenge are the reason we have such complex brains and the mind is the ultimate key to everything, even though intimately wrapped up in the physiology of the body.

For years the sub 4 minute mile was considered impossible, until it was done, then many others did it. The same will happen inevitably, sooner or later, with the sub 2 hour marathon. It’s all in the mind! If it wasn’t all in the mind then how do long distance runners manage sprint finishes at the end of marathons etc? It’s clearly not that the muscles are fatigued that they have slowed before but that the mind has slowed them down for some reason – to keep them comfortable no doubt. Sure you can train the body to tolerate lactic acid up to a point but you must train the mind to endure to go beyond your limits. You need ultimately to trust your body to follow the mind – it always does. How else do you explain mothers lifting cars off their crushed children and the like?

You are in charge of this process and everything else is just your desire to remain comfortable getting in the way. So don’t believe in limits – they are an illusion, not reality. Be prepared to be uncomfortable and grow. Chop away at your ‘limits’ in small chunks. Start your next race alongside people who you know have run faster than you in the past and believe you can outrun them. You might just amaze yourself!

For a holistic approach to your running that addresses ALL aspects, including the psychological, contact David on 07504439555 or email




Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s