Recently, someone told me that they thought I was headstrong. I didn’t really think much about what it meant and brushed it to the side. However, I then thought over what they had said and began to think about what headstrong truly meant. It was only in retrospect, I realised that being told I am headstrong is something I am proud of. So, I bet you’re thinking too, what does headstrong mean in relation to running, and how do I perceive it?
I feel, in order to be a runner, you have to be headstrong. We can be stubborn, and some may say obsessed, but our relentless determination is something you can’t knock, because you can’t be without it as a runner. In order to turn up day in and out, even when the weather is shocking or your body is telling you it wants to go back to bed, takes some commitment and self-determination. Lockdown truly proved this. Whilst other people may help us progress to levels we didn’t think possible and make the hard work seem easier, the ability to get those sessions done alone, as we all had to do during lockdown, takes some guts. The desire to constantly enjoy working hard to improve ourselves and be the best runner we can be is what gives us that determination. If you really want something, you will have the determination to work hard to achieve it.
When I think of confidence in relation to the term headstrong, what I think of is not how I feel in myself as an individual, but my confidence in myself when it comes to racing and taking chances. In terms of racing, there are many times when you get on the start line with a race plan in mind, but you get carried away with the group, go out too hard, and the plan falls apart. Having the confidence execute a race plan regardless of what those around you are doing is a powerful trait. Sometimes you do have to just throw it out the window and adapt to the race itself, but other times doing so can end you up in a very painful and messy situation.
Another aspect of confidence is possessing the strength of mind to follow your dreams and aims, even if they may seem unrealistic to other people, no matter what. If we all thought that our goals were too big or our aims unrealistic, we would never step outside of our comfort zone and find out what were are truly capable of.
I think this also links to self-belief. Other people can believe in you immensely, but ultimately, you have to believe in yourself. It doesn’t matter what they think if you don’t feel the same way. It is this self belief that keeps you going each day, as we believe as individuals that we have what it takes to get to where we want. If we didn’t believe in ourselves, there would be no way we would ever achieve our goals.
Persistence is such an important element of being headstrong. This is the ability to get back up after the sport knocks you down, to keep working hard when people tell you to get a ‘proper job’, and to accept that consistency is key. I for one know, when I set mind on doing something, I will do it no matter what anyone else says. Once my mind is made up, that’s it, there is no persuading me otherwise. To others, this incessant persistence may come across as stubbornness or obsession, and maybe it is, but these traits are needed in order to keep heading in the direction we want to. I once read on the inside of a shoe box the saying, ‘Obsessed is just a word the lazy use to describe the dedicated’, and whilst this isn’t entirely true, I do feel that some people in society are quick to add negative connotations to the word obsessed. To me, if you want to be any good at something, you need to be obsessed. There is this need to not stop at anything that gets in your when if you want to be the best you can be.
I love to run and I love to write, so I write about running!