What does it truly take to be a better runner?
This doesn’t involve VO2 max training or long runs at near maximum effort. It goes far beyond sport watches and curved treadmills.
Heart, attitude and the willingness to endure being uncomfortable is the key.
The best distance runners years ago didn’t have heart rate monitors, gels during races or high altitude tents to sleep in.
What did they have? They relied on their drive and determination to get better.
To give anything less than your best is to sacrifice the gift – Steve Prefontaine
It is an honor getting e-mails from people wanting help.
This is the biggest compliment and honor I can receive as a sport consultant.
I have been training very hard for over 27 years. That being said, during that time I have been told,
you would make a great coach
I don’t necessarily know if I will be or not but I will take the same attitude I have had as a runner.
It is my belief that some of the greatest coaches in the world were never runners to begin with. Dr. Joe Vigil, one of the world’s top authorities on distance running and exercise physiology, was not a runner.
My collegiate coach, Jack Hazen, is another example. His first love was football.
I had the good fortune of not only having the opportunity to be coached by Jack. In addition, I also was able to hear Dr. Vigil speak on several occasions.
Furthermore, I would marvel at his gift of gab.
I have been asked numerous times over the years,
what should I do to be more competitive?
I’ll share my thoughts and hopefully it will impact you in some way.
You Have To Care To Be A Better Runner
Improvement in running takes consistent, honest, and focused work. I found a love for this when I was 15.
In addition, I have never turned away a person who wanted to talk to me at races or needed a question answered.
You have to care about your health and helping others gain in theirs.
Work First, Results Later
The greatest thing you can do to gain strength in your training and racing is letting go of worrying about upcoming races.
DO set goals. DO train your tail off but DO NOT spend any wasted time worrying about things outside of your control.
It is time better spent focusing on your preparation. You will be that much more lethal the day you race by having spent your time on the things you CAN control like sleep.
Did you discipline yourself to get to bed at a descent hour? Did you stay up until 1am every weekend allowing yourself only a few hours of sleep.
Are you drinking adequate amounts of water to replace what you have lost.
Successful runners achieve their goals by setting themselves up to succeed. They create a framework that allows them to get in better shape and run faster with fewer barriers.
I had to learn to do this long ago. Most of my readers work full-time jobs, have families and do not have the luxury of being able to train full-time.
That being said, I have had that luxury and I did a better job of racing and training without it.
Furthermore, I have had many friends who do this full-time, sponsored by Nike and other major shoes companies.
Talented Athletes Work Hard
They all are work horses, deserve to see the results of their hard work. That being said, balancing a full-time job while trying to train full-time requires more work.
You really have to time manage everything you do. Do you have to be at work at 6am? Well, sometimes you’ll have to get up at 4am to knock out a 45 minute run before you head in. I had to get up at 2am during a military field exercise last year because I had a tent duty that started at 5am and had to get in an 18-mile run in before it started.
I was training for the Monumental Indianapolis Marathon and had no choice.
The Army’s mission wasn’t going to stop just because CPT Pennington was trying to run a 2.19.00 marathon.
You make do. It isn’t easy and sometimes you are going to want to quit. That being said, these are the things we have to do to make our dreams a reality.
Find Your Passion
You will make the biggest gains as a runner by being undeterred by the struggles you likely will experience.
Furthermore, you have to follow through with your passion. If something is blocking your path, research ways to go around it.
Surround yourself with the right people
Want to get better? Surround yourself with people who care about you. Associate yourself with winners. Big and rewarding projects like getting better at running demands your time and attention/
You don’t get better in running by getting out for a run one day, taking a couple weeks off, then doing another run. You do by consistent effort, day after day.
The results may not be seen initially but they will emerge weeks down the road. You will certainly notice the difference in your fitness.
There will be momentum building upon every workout you put in. I ran two disappointing marathons before I broke 2.20. Remember, running is cumulative.
You truly have to find ways not to lose heart when things get in your path.
I understand fully how it feels about being uncertain about your ability.
If you have always thought as yourself as not someone who can stick to a plan, then now is the time to give it a shot.
The mind is so powerful and you have so much capability.
I may not know you from Adam but know this, I do care. I understand the frustrations motivated athletes feel and I know how it feels to combat against the struggles that try to stop you from achieving your goals.
Make sure to subscribe to the RunDreamAchieve YouTube channel. I create new videos each week to help runners such as yourself get to the next level. There are also running courses and monthly, online coaching available here at rundreamachieve. You can view these options by looking at the navigation menu at the top of this website. I hope this post on how to be a better runner has been helpful to you.