Posted by: GPK | 20.April.2010

GPK on pushing yourself…

I remember when I ran my first marathon a few years ago.  I had recovered from Leukemia about a year before I started my training so my first real goal was really just to finish the darned run.*  Since my training had been limited because I had chosen an event (Rock N’ Roll, Phoenix) that was only three months away, I had decided to do the run/walk strategy.  I had settled in at run/walking a ratio of 5 minutes of running to 1 minute of walking..

Anyhow, as I chugged along around mile 24, with just 2.2 miles to go, my left knee was really bothering me.  That 1 minute seemed to get farther and father away each cycle.  I would look at my stop watch at minute 2 of my running and think “OMG, it feels like minute 4 already!”

So as each cycle ticked by and each tenth of a mile creeped by, I plodded along.  I think they call what I was doing, “Trudging”.  Anyhow, the folks I was “running” with would coax me, “Just push till we get to that telephone pole up there and see how you feel then.”  And I would push and trudge and tick away a few more seconds of running.  And when there were no telephone poles it might be something like, “okay, see that lady up ahead there with the florescent green hair?  Let’s run to her and see how you feel then.”

At any point in the run you may feel like walking and it may not be in your schedule.  That’s the time you need to reach down deep and push yourself just a bit.  Afterwards, you know you’ll feel better for having pushed yourself a bit longer or farther or faster.

You can’t always rely on the ladies with green hair or telephone poles and, if you’re training you won’t have the crowd cheering you on.  If you’re alone, you’ll just have your watch.  So try the “Ten-Second Coach!”

Mentally record this statement in your most enthusiastic “voice” in your head…

”Just ten more seconds, you can do it!”

Whether it’s powering up a hill or waiting out those last few seconds of a run/walk cycle, Say to yourself, “Just ten more seconds, you can do it!”  It can make a world of difference.

When you think about it, unless your severely injured, you can pretty much handle anything for ten more seconds.  Even then, we’ve all heard incredible stories of folks – and have probably experienced it ourselves – when we’ve pushed ourselves unreasonably far beyond the point when we were hurt.  I’m not advocating that extreme punishment here. It merely proves the point that it’s POSSIBLE.  That’s important because when you say “Ten more seconds, you can do it!”  It will actually be true!

This week, I ran with a  No Boundaries participant here in Albany.  Her name is Rosemary.  Rosemary was a walker and hadn’t run for many years since her days as a ski instructor.  She asked me to push her a bit and try a walk/run.  We decided upon a two/two ratio.  We ran for two minutes and walked for two minutes.  For the first time in years and years she was able to run for two minutes straight.  Rosemary ran/walked three 2:2 cycles!  She was ecstatic!  More than once during those cycles we relied on “Ten more seconds, you can do it!” just to get to the end of the 2 minute run cycle or get up a hill.

“Ten more seconds…”  I did it.  Rosemary did it.  You can too!

*That’s right, it’s a run.  It’s only a race for the first 9 people!

**Another day I’ll show you the excerpt from my book Jumper Cables for the Healing Soul, recounting my experience at the finish line.



  1. I Love this story George! I will definitely refer to it when I need to push myself a little further!

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