Nathan Pennington Running in The Distance

Elite Fitness: Tips From A 2:19 Marathoner

Elite fitness does not come overnight. It doesn't come to elite level athletes or beginner-level runners. Everyone has to start somewhere. Is elite fitness for every athlete? All people can achieve this level of fitness but it takes a special athlete to prepare to run a marathon under 3 hours or break the 2:20 marathon barrier.

elite fitness

There is a massive difference between interest versus commitment. Elite fitness comes only to those that are all in. These professional, fitness-minded professionals are going to do whatever it takes to get to the start line in world-class shape. These athlete are not going to half-ass their preparation.

What Does It Take To Obtain Elite Fitness?

Well, we have touched one a couple of the characteristics needed already. That being said, it may take some form of talent to get into this type of shape. Is there a difference between elite fitness and general conditioning? Absolutely.

Elite-level competing takes marathon motivation.

A marathon is not like a 5K or 10K event. It is 26.2 miles of 42.1 kilometers. Athletes competing in the marathon must be firing on all cylinders to achieve peak performance. That being said, it takes preparation, commitment and focus to race this distance at the elite level.

Athletes seeking elite fitness are not time wasters. They fully commit to their goals. They're not interested in mediocrity. In addition to that, they fully realize the sacrifices they are going to have to make in order to succeed. Elite fitness seekers desire world-class athletic events and are involved in self-development.

Mindset To Achieve Elite Fitness

My mindset while training to earn a 2008 USA Olympic Marathon Trials was one of certainty. That being said, I was a 2:43:36 marathoner seeking to run a sub-2:22:00 marathon. The time jump was immense to achieve this goal. That being said, you have to have a high level of faith that you will achieve your goals.

Additionally, you cannot let naysayers get the best of you. Haters and negative thinkers surround us all. The average American is watching 5 to 6 hours of television per day. The media does a great job of brainwashing people with non-sense and fear.

To achieve elite fitness you have to let go of the negativity and start filling your mind with the opposite. Let go of the media talking heads and start listening to audiobooks. Furthermore, invest in personal development. Take a runner course to learn new training and racing strategies to compete at the highest levels. Hire a sport consultant if need be.

Billy Mills, the 1968 Olympic gold medalist in the 10,000m event said it best,

The subconscious mind cannot tell the difference between reality and imagination

This is a powerful quote. Billy stated that he visualized himself dozens of times each day winning the Olympic gold medalist. The problem he faced was how he was going to improve his time by nearly two minutes upon arrival to Mexico City.

He visualized himself winning and wrote in his workout book that he would run 28:25 to win. What was the result? Billy Mills won with a time of 28:24. No other American has duplicated what did in 1968 to this day.

Can Anyone Achieve Elite Fitness?

I believe anyone can achieve whatever they wish to do in life. That being said, the individual must have a white, hot, razor sharp focus. Elite fitness, to me, is complete commitment. 100 percent focus. Zero distractions. It occurs when people cut out all distractions in their lives and fully commit to a goal.

Furthermore, it is more than just a passion to do something well. You have to, in a sense, become fanatical about achieving your desired result. For example, I desired to be a part of the Army World Class Athlete Program. I was brought on in 2007 as a Soldier-athlete on “conditional” status. I had a qualified for a world Armed Forces cross-country team and run a then personal best time of 51:53 for 10 miles.

What I did not posses at that time was a fast marathon time. For example, my personal best was “only” 2:43:36 in 2007 when I arrived to Fort Carson. I needed a “minimum” time of 2:22:00 or faster to become a legitimate member of that elite unit. My desire to achieve elite fitness was the reason I broke the sub-2:20:00 marathon barrier within 11 months.

All I did was run, sleep, rest, run, go to the gym, rest, run. It was almost a monk- lifestyle. It took an enormous amount of devotion to run a 2:19:35 marathon. Pure fitness is only going to come about by your level of desire and focus.

How To Achieve Elite Fitness?

Furthermore, everyone is going to answer this in a different way. This is my answer based on my own experience. Run and train as if whatever goal you have has already been achieved. If it is running a sub-3 hour marathon believe you have done it. That being said, no amount of wishing without action is going to bring you to elite fitness.

So, you are not going to lay on your bed for 20 minutes each day visualizing success and arrive. What can you expect from that? You have to combine your desire with action. Big goals require big sacrifices.

Nothing is handed to because hard work and dedication is a required factor. As a result, your level of action matches your desire to achieve a world-class result. You cannot achieve high-level fitness while not having an equal balance between the two.

Elite fitness, to me, means achieving stellar results supreme efforts. Sir Edmond Hillary and Tenzing Norgay did not become the first to climb Mount Everest via mere interest. They were all in. These two gentleman were fully committed. That is what elite fitness takes. Additionally, there is no time to let up, even for a second.

Anyone can achieve elite fitness but few are willing to work as long as most that achieve it will. It may take decades to achieve elite fitness. It took me from 1992 to 2007 to break the 2:20 marathon barrier. I started running marathons in 2002 and ran 2:19:35 in 2007 . That being said, it was all the years of hard work prior to that which helped me break the sub-2:20 marathon barrier.

Closing Thoughts On Elite Fitness

Write down your goals. See yourself achieving your end goal this year. Expect it to happen. Do not just wish for it to occur. Believe that what you want has already manifested in your life. Lastly, do not kid yourself and think that is all you have to do.

Lastly, elite fitness is for the fully committed. Do you want to achieve a Boston Marathon qualifying standard? Break the sub-2:30 marathon? Run a marathon under 3 hours? Are you seeking to break the 4 hour marathon barrier? Lose weight?

All will require immense work. Do not be intimidated by it. These are achievable goals but will require supreme efforts. Are you seeking a new training strategy preparing for your upcoming 5K to marathon events? Make sure to stop by the RunDreamAchieve Shop. This resource is there for athletes around the world seeking a new personal best and ready to achieve elite fitness.

Leave a comment below if you have further questions or concerns regarding your goals and preparation. Feel free to contact me anytime. Also, make sure to subscribe to the RunDreamAchieve YouTube channel for the latest video updates. I'm here to ensure you are set up for success.

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