One of the questions I love to ask people, both in work and personal life, is what hurdles they see in front of them. Usually, the question is specific to a business project, transition, or personal goal. Hurdles or challenges come up in all parts of our lives and we should expect them. All too often, I find people that aren’t considering the hurdles that are already placed in the path before them. Foreseeing your hurdles will go a long way to helping you accomplish your goals.
Foreseeing your hurdles does not have to be a difficult process. You can find future hurdles just by taking a high-level view of your goal and the process to get there. Take a look at the track ahead to see what hurdles are between you and the finish line. To do this, you have to take your eyes off where your foot is going to land and look up. In this picture, you can see the eyes of the runners looking down the track. They aren’t looking at the hurdle they are already over. If you focus only on the now you won’t be prepared for the future.
Do you know what your hurdles are? Now how do you attack them and get to the finish line? You can go crashing through the hurdles and hope to make up the time and effort or you can learn to go over the hurdles. Learning to get over your hurdles isn’t just about jumping. Sure, you can run a while then stop and jump over the hurdle to get running again. But that’s not efficient!
The best and most efficient way to attack hurdles is by running over them. I’m not saying run through them, but over them. If you watch an Olympic race it looks like they simply are running a normal stride while they glide over the hurdles. It takes a lot of work to do it correctly. Runners actually run over the hurdles instead of jumping over them by having the right knowledge, proper technique, and a lot of practice.
Running hurdles on the track and conquering hurdles in your life have some similarities. Use these four tips from track and field to help you conquer your hurdles:
- Know Your Tendencies – When training for hurdles, track athletes know what their body does naturally and how to determine their lead and trailing legs. Sometimes, new runners will have someone trip them to see which leg they naturally catch themselves with. This will be their lead leg. Runners also have to know their strides and when to jump. Find your lead leg and how you naturally deal with different types of hurdles before you get out on the racetrack for the competition.
- Know Your Race – Are you running 60 meters, 100, 300, or 400? The length of your race will determine how many hurdles and how far you will have to get started. You have to know how many steps you can take before hitting your first hurdle. Looking forward to see your hurdles will help you plan and prepare. Hurdles can be different based on your personality, project, timeline, or many other factors.
- Stretch – Flexibility is vitally important to runners and hurdlers. They have to be able to get their legs up and over the hurdles without straining. Hamstring strains are common in hurdles. Athletes stretch regularly to mitigate this risk. Stretching takes dedicated work long before the race starts. You should stretch and prepare yourself for the hurdles ahead. Stretching for your hurdles could mean preparing responses, asking for help, practicing a speech or conversation, learning a new skill, or researching a new city. Stretching the muscles that mean the most to your race is what matters.
- Get Momentum – Runners have to get a fast head start to carry them through the hurdles. If they start out slow then they will not get through the race quick enough. You will be tempted to go slow in your actions this year but that can be devastating for the momentum needed. Spend this time getting prepared and visualizing the hurdles so you know when to glide over them, even if you are running at full speed.
- Get back up – If you run enough (and especially when you get started) then you will get knocked down by a hurdle. You will fall down through a hurdle no matter how hard you plan and practice. Perseverance is just as important to you in life as it is out on the track. Do not let falling down beat you. Get back up and keep going.