17 Gold Nugget Tips To Running A Faster Race

I am a huge fan of the show Gold Rush and makes me think of runners all over the world who have running a faster race as their goal. The reasoning behind my love of the show is not the gold but the attitude and work ethic of the men and women on the show.

Running is no different. I am on a gold kick tonight so please bare with me. You don’t start running race pace workouts without first laying the foundation of easy mileage and fitness, like gold, is not at the surface. You have to dig for it and with it comes sweat, tears, sorrows and joys.

Running a faster race means you have to dig deep to get to that inner pay dirt inside your soul that is just waiting for you to find it. I think far too many athletes are selling themselves short. I guarantee you if you have a personal best of 5 hours for the marathon you can run a 3.30. A 4 hour half marathoner can run under 3 hours.

Our limits reside in our mind. The only way they are real is if we believe them to be real.

I have a goal of breaking 2.15.00 for the marathon and you better believe I am intimidated by it, but am I fearful of giving it an attempt? Absolutely not. I have been around the sport long enough to know if it is going to test my limits then I have to give it a shot.


Pay dirt doesn’t lie at the surface. The people that reach it have had to fight for it and it is no different for you with your running. The same goes for me. We want these goals, our so called gold nuggets and you had better believe you’ll have to fight if running a faster race is your overall goal.

Have you ever seen the excitement on a miners face when they find a golden nugget? It is like a breath of fresh air. If you have watched Gold Rush have you noticed how many failures and disappointments they have had before the gold began showing up?

Guys have quit. Some of stuck around and who are they? The ones who are finding the gold. Failures and not getting results fast enough can test even the best intentioned people.

Does it remind you of your own running?

It certainly reminds me of mine. You probably have been training for years. I am sure you have had some successes and failures. Perhaps you have had times in your life when you were just fed up with trying.

I hope what you reading gets you motivated because I am telling you, you have far more in you then you believe. I hold on to words of a man who told me, ‘Nate, you can run well below 2.15 for the marathon’. He is a world renowned exercise physiologist and one of the world’s top distance running coaches, Dr. Joe Vigil.

Sometimes that is all it takes. Words have a lot of power. There are people in this world who truly believe in what you do. Find them, surround them, learn from them. I hope you have found a home here at rundreamachieve.com.

I wanted to put down a few golden nugget tips to help you in running a faster race.

1. Let go. Let go of anything that is inhibiting you, mentally or physically. Focus on only what you have control over. Leave the rest to worry about itself.

2. Rest. You can train hard all you want, unless you discipline yourself to slow down the day or two after a hard session do not think you will get optimal results. It doesn’t work like that.

3. Be patient. Hardest thing to do in our sport right? The greatest runners, businessmen and women, artists in any field have this characteristic and don’t think they are any different then you. The ones that succeed are patient just a little bit longer. Follow suit.

4. Get over it. If you have had a poor race in your recent past. You have to let it go. You can’t let a bad race or workout dictate how you feel and what you tell yourself on a daily basis. It is the past and we have to look ahead, not looking in the rearview mirror.

5. Be certain. The Holy Scriptures tell us faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of things not yet seen. How can we believe more in the wind that we don’t see more then our own abilities, ourselves which we know best? If you have doubts, start being more certain of your success. You own it.


6. Listen to powerful speeches. I have recently substituted music in my car for audio cds of three of the most successful men in the world. Tony Robbins, Jack Canfield and Jim Rohn. It lifts your spirit. Try it and I guarantee you are going to start feeling differently about yourself.

7. Lessen the noise. Running a faster race also means training with less distractions. If you truly want to improve as a runner, lose weight and drop your personal bests get all the crap that holds you back out of your life.

This goes back to #6 but what does watching negative news, reading sad magazine articles or watching melodramatic television going to do for your life or your running? Is it adding value to your life? It may pass the time but how it is beneficial?

Perhaps I sound a bit melodramatic, perhaps not but I am just trying to be real. We have too much useless entertainment in our lives as it is. All this crap can’t match what a good talk with a friend, a powerful inspirational speech or a solid workout can do for your attitude, mind and spirit. Get rid of the unessentials

8. Laugh. I think we all can laugh a little more.

We spend so much time worrying about if we are training hard enough, are we doing enough mileage, can we read our goal. All these questions only make us more stressed and it just isn’t worth it.

Leave everything you have on the roads and track and leave the stress to itself. Laugh a little, have fun with the effort. Running a faster race usually occurs when you are totally relaxed, in the zone, not when overly stressed and uptight.

9. Train Fast. Fast running is difficult, challenging and take a great deal of focus….so does working to hit pay dirt but how we never think of the struggles once the goal is met, only relief and happiness.

Train fast and stick with it and you had better believe your old personal bests will be thing of the past..too much easy running won’t produce the physiological adaptations needed to produce a stellar race.

10. Get used to the pace. Don’t let your race pace intimidate you to the point you over think things. Attack it, go out and give it a shot.

I have always respected blunt honesty and I will tell you if you want to run a marathon in a specific pace you have in mind, don’t think you will nail that time without having done your homework on that particular pace. You know what it is, get acquainted with it and make it work for and not against you.

11. Eat immediately after your long runs. Your muscles are like sponges after long runs of 2 to 3 hours.

A great post race drink like chocolate milk or even muscle milk is a great way to put back fluid and protein needed to repair muscle fibers damaged by that run. You will recover faster and it is just a smart move regardless.

12. Take an ice bath. Running a faster race also means you pay attention to the other variables of training you may have never considered. We do the workouts, we do the runs but what are you doing after the training is complete?

If you want to run faster you have to pay attention to the little things that add up in the end and implementing ice baths into your weekly training routine will help you stay healthy and recover faster. It is also a must if you are an older athlete…like SOME people:) *wink wink*

13. Visualize. I knew this before but as I was driving into work and listening to a Tony Robbins audio CD. Oh yeah people, Nathan Pennington is a fan of Mr. Robbins.

You talk about a man who has changed lives and continues to walk the walk and definitely talk the talk…if you want to know more about the power of visualization and how it can bring you to running a faster race. You’ll invest a few of your funds on one of his audio CD’s as I did or just buy an inspiration book.

I just wrote a manifesto that is 99% motivation

I spent endless hours visualizing breaking 2.22 while I was still a 2.43 marathoner. You have to spend time in that ‘pay dirt’ zone in your head before you can ever expect it to happen in reality. You can’t spend your time sleeping on the surface either ‘wishing’ you were there either. Visualizing+Work=Results.

Tony talks about what I have mentioned in the past. You brain knows no difference between reality or imagination and you have control of what you feed your subconscious mind. Visualize yourself running a faster race, think about it on runs, spend some time while laying in bed at night accomplishing your goal.

This is probably the most important thing I can discuss on this subject. Fill your head with right words, the right thoughts, the right mental pictures. Think I am not visualizing 2.14.59 on the clock? You better believe it.

14. Your not as good as your last race! You are as good as your best day, even if it has not occurred. I heard that recently and makes so much sense. The Kenyans think in this manner. It our society here in the United States that chooses to believe we are only as good as our last race? Who makes this sh** up?

I have spent a lot of time with the Kenyans. They are the most positive people you can know. I remember flying back from a race in 2010 with a Kenyan who happened to have a personal best of 2.12. He ran a 2.51 that day.

What was he talking about on our way home? The marathon he had coming up in three months where he was going to go for a 2.08. These people don’t quit.

They are certain of themselves and think differently. Do the same!

15. Take the time to read up on people who failed before they succeeded in this sport. People like Joan Benoit Samualson, Lisa Rainsberger, Billy Mills, Nate Jenkins (his story is unbelievable) to name a few.

Look at how they think. Be yourself always but remember those who have had to fail, endure hardships before they made strides in the sport. You are not alone, use their stories as inspiration and keep fighting.

16. Do longer tempos even if they need to be broken up. If an 8 mile tempo run seems to daunting. Try breaking it up into smaller segments, 2×4 mile runs at goal pace or 4x2mile tempos on the road.

It sometimes helps to relieve the stress of a hard, planned workout when it is broken up. The key is narrowing in on the pace you are aiming to race at. Training should always be harder then the race.

Once you get to the race, there should be no worry as there is nothing in the race you haven’t already encountered in training.

17. Run slow. What? How does running slow equate to running a faster race? The best runners know the importance of recovery. I have trained with 2.10 marathoners who would jog at 12-13 minute mile pace on their easy days.

Pace is irrelevant to men and women who are at the top. They realize the importance of total recovery after hard sessions and we all can learn a thing or two by taking our easy days just as seriously as our track workouts or road tempos

There is a story I will leave you with. It comes from the book by Napoleon Hill called 3 Feet From Gold. Hill talks about a man by the name of R.U Darby. His uncle had found an ore of gold but didn’t have the machinery to bring the gold to the surface.

He went home and he and his nephew, R.U.Darby, raised the money to purchase the machinery. They went back to the land where Darby’s uncle had initially found the ore. They worked together and were able to get a great deal of gold out of the ground but there came a time when the vein of gold had run out.

They ended up quitting, think their gold aspirations had dried up. The land was giving them nothing back. They ended up selling the land to a junk man that lived nearby.

The junk man hired an engineer to check the land. What was the result? The engineer had discovered a major gold vein just three feet from where they gave in.

Never, ever let up because you never know when you will strike gold with your upcoming race attempt!