What can you accomplish in a week? How about a year? Do you find yourself setting goals that are too big? Or maybe burden yourself with too many tasks to complete in a week?

Maybe a better question is, “What can you accomplish today? Or better yet, right now. We tend to set ourselves up for failure when we set goals without any room for mistakes or failures. 

We live in an impatient world where everyone demands immediate change. It is common to overestimate what we can do in a week and underestimate what we can do in a year or two. 

Hayley Carruthers is a prime example of what you can accomplish in a “short” amount of time when you are consistent and persistent. In just three years she went from running her first 5K to being a top competitor in the London Marathon. All the while, she works as a full-time nurse, a demanding job to begin with. 

What does it take to go from non-runner to elite in just a few years? Scroll down to find out!

When You Can’t Run, Crawl

Recently Hayley has been all over the news. If you follow running at all, you’ve probably seen the picture. Just feet before she crossed the finish line at the London Marathon, Hayley’s legs gave out. Luckily, she didn’t sustain any major injuries, but she still had to find a way to crawl the several remaining feet of the race with cuts and bruises on her legs.

While she never wished her way to fame by falling to her knees, most everything that has happened since has been positive. Hayley is an advocate for the running community in the way she perseveres. Her story has made it to every major running magazine and website, always with an inspirational undertone.

Whether you are a weekend warrior, a Masters runner, a beginner, or an elite, running teaches you how to finish. For Hayley, she knew that she had come too far to give up in that moment. She crawled forward and swung her legs in front of her in an effort to get her chip past the line, still beating her previous best marathon time by three minutes.

Full Time Work, Full Time Runner

A wonderful example of determination, Hayley makes sure she gets in two training sessions each day. Her full-time job didn’t keep her from doing what she loves, and doing it well. Excuses are the enemy of both fun and fulfilling activities. Although some 5:00 a.m. morning runs are difficult, Hayley keeps the end goal in mind while remembering how far she has come. Both the past and the future can motivate you to achieve your goals.

When Hayley doesn’t feel like she can do a training session, her coach Dan encourages her to just show up. We never know how our body or mind will respond to work unless we begin. Even though we may not feel our best on any particular day, just showing up every single time will give us that edge in the long run.

Prioritize your goals. If you simply can’t afford to quit your job or give all your children away (also, not recommended), just pick what is important to you. If you want to run the local 5K, find some small thing that you can do without. Watch one less Netflix show or vacuum the house one less time per week. If it really is your priority, you’ll find a way to get it done.

Remember Why You Started

Off-the-radar to mainstream in a short amount of time can a lot of stress. Hayley and her coach have made it a priority to keep training low pressure from the beginning. When you jump into the spotlight it is easy to become overwhelmed by how well you are expected to perform based on sponsor requests or your ever-ticking biological clock.

When the stress of running or any activity seem to outweigh the benefits, take a step back and remember why you started. Make your training light by dancing to music before you begin or walking backwards up the hills. Whatever it is that makes you smile, try it out and remember those joyous times.

More About Hayley and Dan

Learn more about Hayley and her coach Dan Robinson by listening to this episode! What is it like to see yourself on the front page of magazines and newspapers in your home town and around the world? What is Hayley’s next running goal? How did Hayley find her running coach, Dan? What’s it like to find out you are running for your country and more!


Hayley on Instagram

Thoughts of Dog Twitter

Andy Lane’s Twitter

Listen to the Running for Real Podcast here:

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Thank you to Bodyhealth, Athletic Greens, and Metpro for being the wonderful sponsors of this episode of
The Running For Real Podcast.

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