How not to be hard on yourself

How not to be hard on yourself


How not to be hard on yourself

Well I came across this photo the other week when Gobinder, my psychology coach, posted it on Twitter. I found it very interesting and decided as it received a lot of attention on my Social media account I decided to write a blog about my experience – this was a great insight of peoples minds by Anna Vital.


Your mistakes are part of learning

Everyone makes mistakes but it depends if you learn from them. I certainly have, I now know my limits in training and it is a fine line between injuries.  When I took up running nearly 5 years ago, my mistake was that I kept coming back too soon and getting injured. Looking back now I think what on earth was I thinking but it’s all learning. I would go out as fast as I could in every session; well that road lead me to injuries all the time. When I got injured I would rest until it didn’t hurt and then come back and do the same. This was a huge learning curve for me and once I learnt and my knowledge was much better I was able to go years with just minor niggles and was able to improve as a result.  It’s ok to have a bad race or training session, look at it as a positive and set targets to improve next time.

Don’t compare yourself to others because you are not them

A lot of people make the mistake of comparing others with themselves. Well don’t because that’s not a good idea, just because someone runs 100 miles a week and improves hugely it doesn’t mean you will. Everyone has different bodies and your body may not cope. For me if I do that kind of mileage that will break my body. So my advice is just stick to your own training and plans and work out what works best for you.


There is no right way to do anything

With running technique it is very important and even more important with swimming. However people have different techniques that work for them. In regards to training we all follow plans and sometimes they do make you improve, again its important to find out what works best for you. If a coach tells you to do something and you find it is not working, don’t be afraid to say it doesn’t work and want to do what you think is best.


Stand up for what you believe. Even if it’s unpopular

It’s important you stand up for what you believe in and what works for you. I am at the stage of life that if someone finds something I do unpopular let them get on with it. I found since I got the two bronze medals in the Nationals and the European Aquathlon championships last year, some people started changing towards me. It has been a huge learning experience how people can change and yes at the time it hurt. But I now allow it to go over the top of my head and let them get on with talking about me and being jealous. Training hard and working hard pays off and it inspires others so don’t let this ever get to you.  Let them talk and prove them wrong in your races.


Learn from people who criticise you

I like this one, I am no pro I am just a full time working guy who trains after work and not elite. I love it when people criticise me and I love it even more when they criticise me behind my back. When people talk about you, you always find out in the end. I use this as fuel to make me more determined and motivated to push harder in training and races in order to succeed. This season has been successful so far for me and it is mainly down to working hard and getting on with it.


Accept your weakness as your features

I know I am not the quickest runner or swimmer but I give it all my best and train to the best I can be. When I got injured a lot in the past I decided to do strength training to help keep injuries away. I accept my weaknesses but work hard to improve them without being t0o hard on myself.


Look at your past as an adventurous biography

Use you past races/training etc to help you improve and be successful in reaching your targets and goals. I always look back to day one of running and how far I have come. This motivates me to improve and reach my targets; most people I compete against have been racing all their life so knowing that I am still going to improve helps. When I go into a race I always look back on how I had to sprint the last 400m at the European Championships in 2016 to claim a Bronze medal in my Age group. So this makes me think I can sprint the last bit of a race.


Don’t underestimate your talent until you apply it 100 times

As mentioned before I didn’t know I could sprint the last 400m of a race and every race is different you get to learn something new. The mind is hugely important and if you have the right frame of mind you can achieve something you didn’t expect.


Every single problem is not unique

Don’t get hooked on a problem, try to just blank it or forget about it. Injuries are a part of training and sport and it’s the way you deal with it. I struggled with injuries this year leading up to the European Championships and I was very worried I couldn’t compete. However I bounced back at the Nationals while dealing with another injury as well.


Intelligence is relative self-esteem is not

Be intelligent with your training and races. Don’t change things up if changes do not work for you. Keep positive in order to be motivated. Most people change things up on race day like taking a different gel in a marathon but not using it in training and wonder why they struggle in that race.


Express your anger in a creative way

I think being creative is a great way, if you struggle in a race take it out on your training session and don’t dwell on it.


Surround yourself with people who want you to succeed.

For me I don’t want to be around people who are negative against me.  You don’t need to train with them etc. I like to surround myself with people who have similar interests and where we are able to train together and push each other. I like to train with people who are much better so that I can push myself that much harder. Having people around you who are positive will bring the best out of you and them.


My conclusion is enjoy what you do as there is no point in doing your hobby if you are not enjoying it. Sometimes the pain and other factors can be tough on you but there is no point in being hard on yourself. Don’t worry about what others think, just let them get on with it, it’s not worth stressing about something so silly. I like to use every negative and flip it around to a positive and use as fuel to improve and keep me motivated.



written by

Yiannis Christodoulou

NHS Performance analyst from Canterbury

Age group: 40-44
Club: Canterbury Harriers, Ashford Triathlon Club, GB Age group team, Age group 2017 Aquathlon team captain
Coach: My self in running Level 2 coach in running fitness, Craig Coggle Strength coach, John Wood Swimming coach

10k trail half marathon swim-run Strength Training marathon
olympic distance triathlon