Guest post by Nate Pennington of Run Dream Achieve.
I write a great deal on motivation on my blog. There are countless books written on coaching and training but the power of a runners own experience is far more powerful. All runners have dealt with disappointments, but it doesn’t mean you can’t build momentum from them.
Never Turn Away Those Who Seek Your Help
The main reason I started rundreamachieve.com is to share in the struggles of other runners across the globe who have encountered challenges. I believe the most important characteristic a runner must take with them in preparing for any race, regardless of distance, is to continue to build momentum.
Disappointing Race Efforts Will Only Help You Gain Momentum
Breaking the 2.20 marathon barrier humbled me. It made me appreciate all the horrible performances I had a long the way. I went to the 2011 BMO Vancouver Marathon last march in good shape, thought I had prepared to the utmost and was ready to break the 2012 US Olympic Trials marathon standard time of 2.19.00. I failed miserably, running 2.40 and finishing 10th.
I hit the half-marathon point in 1.08.56, was still on 2.27 pace at 20 miles (1.53) and walked and jogged the last 10K.
Have you been there?
You have to keep a long-term approach to the way you view your racing. You have a bad race and are depressed that you didn’t meet your goal, then keep on trying. It may sound cliche, but truth is, these failed attempts at going after something big is building momentum for that golden moment you have trained for when everything does go right and you nail it.
Momentum Will Get You To Your End Goal
I wrote about momentum in How To Overcome The Talent Myth And Be The Runner You Were Born To Be.
Momentum is defined as the strength or forced gained by motion. Gains may not be seen as fast as we would like, but just because you miss your race goal doesn’t mean it is time to hang your shoes up.
8 months later I ran 2.26.42 to finish 5th at the Monumental Indianapolis Marathon, to include an emergency porta john stop at mile 18 while running with the lead Kenyans.
You might have thought I had qualified for the Olympic Trials that day had you seen my reaction at the finish line. I have seen far too many athletes lose heart when the results didn’t come quickly as they should have. Never measure yourself with someone else and don’t let up in the face of challenges.
Your next great race is depending on it.
Focus on the things you can control with your racing. There is nothing more powerful than a driven individual not losing heart in the most challenging circumstances.
“Pressure makes diamonds” – GEN George S. Patton
The long hours on the roads when no one is watching is money in the bank and only builds more momentum for a breakthrough performance. My best marathon before I ran 2.19.35 was 2.40.02. I had run a 2.40.02 and a 2.51.16 prior to breaking 2.20. This isn’t fluff, I know how important this is.
Your willingness to accept the setbacks and use them as fuel will build up the strength or force you unknowingly gained by fighting through them. I share my story to motivate you to believe in compounding effect of momentum on your future racing.
I am now coaching a man who is over 50 who dropped over an hour off his marathon time (4.40 to 3.36) in one race.
This is huge.
I am sure there are countless others who could write on this subject who have experienced similar breakthroughs. There really is nothing that surprises me anymore in sport.
We all have amazing capabilities. The sport of running has taught me the importance of vaulting the lethality of momentum. Water can carve through canyons, not overnight, but because it is unrelenting and continuous, nothing that is placed in its path is safe.
Use the power you already possess within you to run your best in the coming months. Train to the maximum.