Nathan Pennington Running in The Distance

The Mindset To Start Running

The Mindset To Start Running

Haile Gebressalassie, the former word record holder for the marathon distance and the first man to break the 2 hour 4 minute marathon barrier discussed with CNN how he became so good.

He mentioned that he ran 10 kilometers (6.2 miles) to and from school every day, for ten years.

Imagine that.

Running 12 miles per day, everyday for 10 years.

43,800 miles run in a ten-year span.

Is it any wonder why he has become the great athlete we have all come to know him as?

What I have noticed about the top runners I have trained and lived with is an immense passion for something that other people consider painful.

Is it painful?

Unpleasent at times?

Absolutely, but it doesn't last.

It takes overcoming the initial pain and discomfort of being out of shape to see the light at the end of the tunnel.

The hardest struggle most runners face or people who have never run before in their life but want to get involved in the sport for the first time is this, starting.

Jack Hazen, my collegiate coach while running for Malone University, was the first person I had ever heard say that it takes approximately 21 days or three weeks to adapt to any stress load we place on our body.

How do you get that killer instinct, that mindset to start running to overcome the inertia needed get the process started?

I can't answer that for you but I can say that everyone on this planet is special.

We all have the capacity to do great things and I think that ability was engrained in us from our Creator.

Joe Newton, a 50 year veteran of the sport of long distance running and the most successful high school coach in history shares this within his teams at York High School in Illinois.

He and his high boys and girls teams have won 28 state Illinois Cross-Country titles.

He has written four books and was the assistant manager for the distance running team at the 1988 Olympics.

He puts the mindset to start running like this,

You have three choices, in life, be average, be good or be great. It is your choice. Your momma didn't make it, your teacher didn't make it, you make it. If you choose to be average that is all you are ever going to be in life.

I know it may seem harsh but that is how I feel about life in general.

We are all given the same amount of time in a day. 24 hours, no more, no less.

Why is it some people achieve such high achievement while others never see the light of day?

What we do with that time is how we create a mindset to start running that is going to last.

It is the difference between what is going to get you started on the road to success in this sport and distance yourself from the wannabees who only dream about what you have in mind.

Linda Prefontaine, the sister of the late and great Steve Prefontaine says this,

Steve found something that he was good at and loved, the rest is history

The secret behind the mindset to start running, to getting in better shape and most importantly sustainment of that enthusiasm needed to excel is loving what you are doing.

You see it in business or any other area of expertise.

People that are passionate about what they do, would do what they do for free.

They don't need to be payed.

Steve Prefontaine, turned down $200,000 in 1974 money to turn pro but in so doing, would have had to forfeit all the American records he achieved up to that point while still a collegian runner.

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His response?

I run best, when I run free

His teammates characterized him as always seeming to be in a rush.

I think Steve, like any other successful or hungry individual, regardless of area of interest, understand that time is the most precious commodity in life.

What you do with your time is vital.

Steve, as well as the other top runners around the world, use their time wisely.

We spend untold amounts of time on career trying to make a living instead of creating a living.

Life shouldn't be comprised of wasting our precious lives trying to live out others expectations of us.

I heard a quote by author Timothy Ferris the other day that reminded me of this.

Doing less meaningless work, so that you can focus on things of greater personal importance, is NOT laziness. This is hard for most people to accept, because our culture tends to reward personal sacrifice instead of personal productivity.

It takes a definite plan of action to get started.

The biggest hurdle is simply the starting part of the equation.

I think far too many people around the world have not been told often or not told at all during their lives that they have what it takes to be great.

Beginner runners and overweight athletes are close to my heart in that they are the ones who have the most potential for improvement.

They are also the ones most often times characterized as not being important, not in the limelight and not getting the attention they deserve.

Who gets it?

The professional athletes while those that are working equally as hard, if not harder are forgotten about or not payed attention to.

It makes me think back to my high school days.

I have always tried to remain humble in this sport that has allowed me to travel the world and meet some of the most influential people in the sport.

I cherish those memories but even though people knew who I was, I always knew there were runners who were better than me and that I simply was not going to outperform at that age.

I was never content with the idea though and getting to their level, maximizing my potential was a focus I have never lost.

I took the time than and I still devote a lot of my time now aiming to help runners who never had what I have had around me, attention and people who helped me achieve my own breakthroughs.

You have to first rely on yourself to build the mindset to start running because even mentors, family or your friends ulitmately cannot hold your hand to do the hard work.

They can't force you to go out and train when it is raining or when it is hot and humid.

This is your choice and your overall success depends on it.

This isn't about being an elite runner, what it is about is maximizing your potential by wasting less time on things that are not going to help you get to the level you are capable of.

Partying with friends, being distracted by life's worries is not going to get you there either.

You have to hack away at the unessentials.

I can tell you from my own experience that I don't think I ever had a great deal of talent.

What I have always possessed was an enjoyment for what I do and have been persistent in focusing on the elements of training that get the best results.

Running brings me peace in a world filled with deceit, money hungry bankers, politicians and media.

My family and taking some time out of my day to workout, is where I feel most alive.

The hard facts is that far too many people around the world and especially here in the United States are distracted.

Eric Thomas, a motivational speaker and author, was quoted in a speech stating,

Some of you say you want success but you don't want it bad enough, you just kind of want it. Some of you love sleep more than you love success.

I have found no other speech that has affected my life more powerfully than this.

I highly encourage you to listen to this speech that is played behind the Floyd Mayweather video on the front page here on

I can go on and on about this but I will end this post on the mindset to start running by saying this.

Don't waste your life dreaming about getting to your goal weight or achieving a specific race time.

Start creating massive change, make some ripples in the water and don't be fearful of anything.

There is enough negativity in the world to belittle anyone who chooses to listen to it.

I don't care if you are 100 pounds overweight, are a 5 hour marathoner dreaming of breaking 3 hours or seeking to run 5 minutes without having to stop.

You can surpass what you think is possible in your life and it starts with the mindset our Creator placed within us.

The Bible even states that greater is He that lives in you than he that lives in the world. (1 John 4:4)

I won't go into specifics of the one who lives in this world.

You can take a look at the world and what is in it and find that out for yourself, but there is a great reservoir of strength, energy and drive that lives within us that stems from a Creator who knew this.

Trust in that and never let anyone deter you from your fitness goals.

Anything can be attained depending on the level of enthusiasm you bring to the table.

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