Keep your commitment to your commitment
I first heard this quote by motivational speaker, entrepreneur and author, Les Brown.
Keep your commitment to your commitment
It made me think of all the runners out there, myself included, who have had to endure setback after setback in order to have one solid race.
There are athletes out there who have an enormous amount of talent.
Do you know the ones I am talking about?
They never seem to have an off day and if it is than it is light years ahead of what you and I could produce.
I suppose hearing this quote made me think of the times I had to fail before I broke the 2.20 marathon barrier.
It made me think of a gentleman I coach who flew all the way to Berlin, Germany to go after his dream of breaking the 3.25 marathon barrier and had to pull out of the race a 13 miles into it.
It takes a disciplined, focused individual to be willing to do that, to go after a goal and fly that far for it.
What inspires me is Bill is not the type that will let up.
He will continue to train until he reaches his expectation and this is what counts, not letting up on ourselves in the midst of the trials we face.
The truth of the matter is and some of the best pieces of advice I can share with anyone reading this post.
1. Maintain a very short term memory when it comes to a poor performance or race.
Is it a poor performance to you?
Ask yourself even if you didn't achieve your personal goal would someone else be happy and thankful for the same performance who, perhaps, doesn't have your ability level?
True success is going from failure to failure and not losing enthusiasm – Winston Churchill
We get far too bent out of shape over short-term, temporary defeats and setbacks when these so called ‘failures' are what are going to bring us to the realization of our goals and dreams, if we are just patient enough to see them through.
The problem is we give up far too early.
Distance running is a tough sport and demands from everyone, regardless what ability level you currently are at, to give their utmost effort.
Everyone admires the Kenyans and think they were just born to run.
We all were born to run.
We all do not make the same choices.
We all do not live in the same countries, some of us do not have the luxury to drive to school or walk whereas others go to plan B, they walk or run.
Imagine what could be done as athletes if you didn't have video games, television or life's luxuries like we have in the states.
Imagine if you grew up where your goal was to be a world champion or simply a fast runner.
Your environment would teach you what needed to be done.
The distractions wouldn't be present.
There are far too many here in the United States and we wonder why the Kenyans and Japanese are dominating the marathon distance?
The Kenyans understand what it means to keep your commitment to your commitment.
They have mastered the art of running fast because they spend a much larger percentage of their week training at a higher anaerobic level then their counterparts.
Everyone can run easy but very few spend enough time running at their limits to fully understand just how powerful they, too, are.
It is common sense but isn't common practice.
Our environment and people we associate with, books we read, television and radio we listen to, all determine our beliefs and how we live our life.
I do not doubt for one moment that had I been born in Kenya or started running there in their camps when I was 8 that I would be a sub 2.10.00 marathoner by now.
Environment plays a huge part.
People that think the Kenyans are unbeatable would think differently if they had no choice but to grow up with them, live and train the way they did.
There would most certainly be an adjustment of mindset if that were the case.
We play video games and watch football games here.
They run and are hungry for results.
It all depends on what we do with our time.
I started running when I was 15 but didn't fully understand how serious one has to be to run and outrun the Kenyans until I was 25.
They are great at what they do because they do not give up and regardless how they perform their thoughts are always on the next race.
I was at the airport once on my home from competing in the Green Bay Half Marathon and was sitting next to a Kenyan who had competed in the marathon the day before.
We both had run poor (to our standards).
I ran 1.10 for the half-marathon and he had run a 2.51 marathon but he was a man with a 2.12 personal best.
He was already talking about his race and how he was going to break 2.10.
This is the day after, what for him was, a bad race.
Emotionally detach yourself
2. Never get too emotionally attached to a poor outcome with a race effort.
Your job is to learn from what went wrong, adjust your training and tweak it in such a way where you can fix the mistake.
It does none of us any good beating ourselves up over something we can do nothing about.
The race is over.
Your job, as is mine, is to immediately detach ourselves from what happened a few hours before, whether it was a personal best, poor performance or DNF and immediately start making our game plan for the next effort.
Always remember that.
It is easier then done I know but the faster you learn that the less mental effort will be spent living in the past and the more you will be feeding your subconscious mind of how to conquer your goal in the near future.
Our worst performances could be what someone, somewhere would do anything to be able to obtain yet we mope around as if it is the end of the world.
Keep your commitment to the commitment.
This site is dedicated to everyone, regardless of ability level.
My main focus isn't to cater to elite athletes but beginners, anyone willing to hear me out.
They know and understand that it is a process.
Understand that what you are asking of yourself is already impressive.
Keeping your commitment to your commitment, as Les Brown stated, is not letting up when others normally would slow down.
Do you know how many times I had to run the marathon dismally before I got it right?
You need to make a commitment, and once you make it, then life will give you some answers – Les Brown
The talent myth
You may disagree with me on this but I do not necessarily buy into the talent myth.
This idea that people just come out of the womb ready to do something so far out of our reach.
We all have seen or known runners who were better than us, but we all have talent, in some area of our lives.
We all possess it but we all do not use it at the same level as others around us whom we term ‘talented'.
I have not known one runner who was better than me who did not work his or her rear end off to run the way they do.
All have had to work their entire life to run the way that they run.
My good friend, Fernando Cabada, just ran a new personal best at the Berlin Marathon held recently.
He placed 8th in 2.11.36, nearly 8 minutes faster than I have ever run.
Fernando has achieved much more than I have in this sport of distance running but I do not think he is more talented than I.
If we work as hard as we possibly can, with every ounce of our mental, physical and spiritual power, if we mastered that, we would be able to match what anyone else has done.
The question is how can we get into that state of mind?
Everyone achieves goals at different time frames.
What may take you a month to learn may take me 2 years.
How fast you run at the 10K may take me entirely longer to achieve and vice versa.
We all arrive but not entirely at the same time.
The biggest question is how to arrive at your goal without losing enthusiasm along the way.
How committed are you?
The time is now to decide how badly you want what you want.
It isn't the time to realize that unless you make the decision now to hit that goal time, help someone who needs your expertise and knowledge, or drop those pounds, you will live the rest of your life wondering if you truly gave it your best effort.
Focus on healthy living to get the most bang for your buck with your training.
I once heard the richest place in the world is not in the middle east where there are oil fields for as far as the eye can see.
It isn't South Africa where they have diamond mines.
It is the cemetery because there lies untapped potential, books that were never read, dreams that were never achieved.
We have to start living and we have to gain leverage and control of our time, at whatever means necessary.
I made the comment the other day on my Facebook wall that we either focus our mental energy on what Anderson Cooper is saying on CNN and get busy dying or we focus on something positive, learning a new skill others will not give the time of day and start living.
When was the last time a news media story about something negative, did anything for your bank account?
Why do so many focus on areas that will do nothing for their health, bank account or free up their time yet not give one ounce to something that will.
You have to keep your commitment to your commitment, whether that is to run a faster marathon, get your kids through college, finish school or start a business.
You have to be hungry.
One thing I have learned in my career thus far in our sport is that results will come but you have to be willing to do today what others will not in order to have tomorrow what others will not.