The Marathon Marcus: family man, athlete, inspiration.
We are proud and excited to share with you, our recent interview with someone who is a source of inspiration to us here at MindFit HQ: Marcus Brown. Marcus is a family man, an accomplished athlete (World Marathon Majors Six Star Finisher, Half Marathon Des Sables Peru Finisher, to name but a few of his achievements), and an England Athletics LiRF Coach. If all of this wasn’t enough, he is also a speaker and a writer. In his own words, “I’m working towards advocating the balance of a sound mind and sound body.”
Marcus very generously took some time out of his incredibly busy schedule, to speak to us and share some of his knowledge and wisdom. You might want to make some notes as you read on 😀...
When did you start running and what prompted you to start? I was never into long distance running at school or university. I got into running through a bet from a friend to do a 10k. I made a lot of excuses and ducked out of a few races before honouring my word! I was unfit and I found training really hard at the start. I couldn’t run 100m without being doubled over in a wheezing heap. However, come race day, I loved the feeling of achievement when I crossed the finish line. That was the catalyst for my running journey.
How has running changed your life, both physically and mentally? It‘s brought so many lessons. But a recent one is the importance of consistent action. Not all runs feel great, sometimes it doesn’t click, and my best efforts feel like moving through quicksand. Then life happens: juggling family, work and adulting. Coupled with a few missed strength and conditioning workouts, plus nights of broken sleep on parenting duties. At times I don’t want to keep ‘showing up’ and I’ve had days where I’ve had no motivation, but I keep doing the work because my ‘whys’ were stronger. The culmination of the training blocks was the reward that on a bad day, when I felt awful, I earned a race PB. The lesson was that results aren’t earned when you only feel good to go - so consistent action is vital.
If you can‘t run for any reason e.g, injury, how does that affect your mental health? My identity isn’t wrapped in being a runner, although it is part of the multitude of aspects that makes me, I’m also a father, a husband, etc. These aspects keep me grounded. However, the instances when I’ve been injured, my approach is to face the situation and ask myself, what is the best next step? That might be to stop, rest and ice for example. But it’s about making a decision to act, taking some control and not be worn down by external factors that I can’t control.
Why would you recommend running, or any kind of physical activity, to the people we work with? So, if I use running as an example, whilst race times and goals are part of the picture, it’s not everything. The main thing I’d say to the people you work with, is that you have to enjoy the physical activity you choose. Because when it gets hard (which it will) and you want to stop, you have to remember why you started, to keep you moving forward.
What advice would you give to someone who wants to start running for example, but is too anxious to start? Start small, start where you are. If it’s new for you, don’t jump straight into gruelling workouts, as you’ll burnout. Look at the factors that make you anxious and make a plan to tackle it. Choose your goal, then make the commitment to carry out one easy habit and build from there. This starts with priming your environment for the desired action. This one habit could be: preparing your running kit the day before and leaving your running shoes by the door. Once you’re out the door, just tell yourself that you’ll run for a minimum of five minutes. Even if you only run for five minutes over several days, you’re developing the importance of showing up. Once the habit to show up is established, you can build on this and improve.
What we love about Marcus is his relatability. His story is one of great success - but purely through his sheer hard work, perseverance, resilience and strong mindset. His story tells us that we can all reach great heights in whatever field we choose, if we apply the same dedication. If you’re reading this and are feeling like you want to make some changes in your life, following Marcus‘s advice is a wonderful place to start: start small, set yourself a small, achievable goal, and most importantly, keep showing up. It really will change your life.