Former GB international Colin McCourt on why you should change things up and always believe in yourself

Pssst, let’s start with a secret… Your only limit is you! Not the shoes you wear or the fancy gadgets you have. You, just you.

I used to only wear one type of shoe, race in the same vest, run the same loops. I had no variation and then I wondered why I became stagnant and disengaged.

I’ve heard this saying a lot – the definition of madness is doing the same thing over and over. I think as runners most do that, we have our routines, which are great, by the way. However, I think we need to change things up. If you have been doing three sessions a week for the last while and you are hoping to run that PB, change something.

Probably deep down you don’t believe in what you’re doing and are too scared to change. I promise that you will run and feel a thousand times better if you start doing different kinds of runs or make little changes to the sessions that you do.

I was brought up on three sessions a week – track Tuesday, sometimes even track Thursday but mainly grass, then a session on Saturday or Sunday – hills or grass. I’m not saying this is wrong, just question it – what can you do to change that up?

In the last few weeks I’ve been reading and asking a lot of questions to myself which I never did before. As an athlete you have to ask questions like ‘why?’ and ‘what does this give me?’

This week I have been fighting some old demons – Mr Doubt and Mr Negativity. If you let them, they can consume you.

I don’t talk about this at all but in 2012 I was mentally in a very bad place. I had everything – a great shoe sponsorship, a room in the athlete’s house at St Mary’s, everything you could want. Not quite what I had dreamt of as that kid running round the Kings Park track in Bournemouth, but I had the building blocks to create something.

I threw it all away because I gave up on myself. I didn’t even tell anyone that I had stopped, I just moved back to Bournemouth, got a temporary job and started rotting away at a desk.

If it wasn’t for Rebecca and our son Finny I would still be there.

Whatever age at which you are reading this, believe in yourself! Some days are harder than others and your dreams never die if you believe in them. Keep moving forward.

» You can read more on Colin’s challenge here. Look out for regular blog posts from Colin on, while you can also follow his journey on Instagram here