What are some legitimate ways to run your best?
We are going to cover a few of them in this post.
I can honestly say that I have failed far more times in this sport than I can count.
I always share my failures here and I never could rely on talent because I never had a great deal of it.
I had to rely on endless, consistent, relentless work and I know that is the story with the majority of my readers here at RDA.
It is a misconception to say that I am talented. It isn't true.
I started off running the mile and 2-mile in high school.
I ran my first high school mile in 5.30 and two-mile in 11.30.
How does this equate to running a 2.19 marathon?
Does a 5.30 mile or 11.30 2-mile show a runner he or she has the capability to hold 5.19 mile pace for 26 consecutive miles with no breaks? Hardly.
The point is you never put a limit on what you can do.
The bottom line is how long are you willing to train and endure to get to your goal.
Do you want to know how long it took me to crack the 2.20 marathon barrier? 18 years!
Utilizing what you have with an un-shatterable commitment is what it takes, end of story.
Few are willing to make that level of commitment so they quit or move on to other things in life.
We all want to have fun and you can still enjoy yourself in this sport but know this, to achieve a tough goal the commitment has to be there and it may take weeks, months and often times many years for it to come about.
You have to be willing to get up, day in and day out and do the same thing whether you fail or not and not lose sight of your end goal.
I believe that most people have that characteristic but many times a disappointment or getting distracted with life's cares and other goals get in the way.
It isn't easy.
Below are three helpful tips I can share that have aided my career thus far which I hope can help you in some way.
1. Set short term and long term goals.
Short term goals can be anything from dropping 5 pounds to running a 1 -second personal best in your chosen distance.
Long term goals are the goals you know damn well are not going to take a month but years to accomplish.
They are what outsiders may consider impossible but you have to be crazy enough to believe they are reality.
It all has to start in the mind before it ever happens in your life.
I firmly believe this.
I remember while still a 2.43 marathoner envisioning myself as a sub 2.22.00 marathoner.
I saw it in my mind every second of the day and constantly thought about it in long runs and tempo workouts.
I thought about it when I failed in workouts and in races.
I always saw it as reality which reminds me of a very important quote that Billy Mills (last American male to win an Olympic gold medal in the 10,000m) said, ‘the subconscious mind, cannot tell the difference between reality or imagination'
Train For Reality
I am a firm believer that we create our reality.
If you think you have no chance of achieving a goal you have had than you are probably right.
If you are relentless and have the mental and physical fortitude to accept the fact that you may have to train 5 to 20 years to reach your goal than I can most certainly guarantee that you will achieve it.
We all were born with different talents.
It is what we do with what we have that counts and sometimes we who have smaller amounts of talent will have to work all the more to make up for what we lack to outmatch those who have been given more physiologically.
Don't rule it out as someone just being more talented than you.
Have the guts and courage to be willing to endure and last longer than they could ever envision.
You have to want it bad and whether it takes months or years, there can be no easing up.
Far too often extremely devoted and talented athletes give up too soon never to realize their full potential.
I don't want that for you.
Ive seen far too many of my friends who were far better than me do this.
Don't look back and wonder, ‘what if I trained another month, year, decade?'
Seek Out Aggressive Benchmarks
2. Don't be afraid to fail
We hear this all the time, sometimes it is cliche but truth is those who succeed have failed over and over again and get up with the same amount of drive as when they began.
I heard a great quote the other day which states, ‘success is failing over and over again without losing enthusiasm'.
This is so incredibly true.
Failing sucks yes but if you want the goal badly enough you are going to go through hell and back to get it and not lose heart along the way.
Hungry people will reach their potential.
If you let up for even a second and lose any of the enthusiasm you started with you'll never reach your full potential because you're too caught up with the failed attempt, instead of looking at all the small accomplishments you made along the way.
You have to stay hungry and keep hustling.
There is no room to let up.
I failed in my first 8 marathons before I broke 2.20 for the 26.2 mile distance but I never lost enthusiasm for what I was doing.
There was just too much love and I know damn well that my readers are the most highly disciplined, energetic athletic professionals in the world.
I never doubted myself and I won't let you or anyone else who visits rundreamachieve to doubt their own ability.
If you need a kick in the ass I will be there to remind you to get your head out of it, keep the faith and drive on.
Train As You Race
3. Run in training the way you want to perform in the race
Putting it bluntly, this means make sure you are spending adequate time teaching your body to run with high volumes of lactic acid in your system and being uncomfortable.
If you have a time goal in mind which most runners do than this is a hot tip you can't pass up.
I don't care if you want to break 3 hours for the half marathon or run a sub 2.40 marathon, hard, consistent work is the name of the game.
Sustained efforts for long periods of time will make you dangerous when you race.
It is the one training tool that all runners and people achieving their fitness goals use.
They prepare at intensities that are at and exceed what they want to compete at.
The only difference between those who meet their time goals and those who don't is one spent just a little more time and mileage at the speed they envisioned racing at.
To run your best means focusing all your energies on what you are already capable of.
No distractions, negative self-talk.