Nathan Pennington Running in The Distance

What Are You Struggling With As A Runner?

Have you been asked this often enough? Listen, it isn't about how fast I run, have run or where I have raced.

Who cares. What I want more of with is a site devoted to helping runners.

It isn't about me but I will share my knowledge to help other runners. I can do that.

I will share experiences and admit to things I have done in training that have cost me in an effort to ensure you don't miss an area of your training that could cause you to slip up leading into a big race.

My biggest issue over the years is fueling properly during marathons. It has cost me countless fast marathon times.

I have done faster efforts in training then I have done thus far in my marathons.

I had done a 20-mile long run in September of 2011 in 1.50.02, averaging 5.30 per mile, and was certain that breaking the 2012 Olympic Trials standard was surely possible (and it was).

So, I could only put up 2.26.42 two months later at the Monumental Indianapolis Marathon (despite an emergency porta john visit).

Long Term Focus

My struggle was knowing the training I was doing was not yielding the return or the capability I have to run a much faster time.

The best 20-miler I had done prior to my 2.19.35 was 1.56.53 so it was reasonable to believe a time of 2.19.00 was not out of reach.

What I have struggled with, at least for the last 3 years, was chasing the 2012 USA Olympic Marathon Trials standard (2.19.00).

Why was it 2011 and here I was still trying to achieve a time that I nearly equaled 4 years prior.

I don't believe being 35 has anything to do with it. I ran 2.19 when I was 31 and there are men across the world every year running under 2.14 over the age of 40.

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The winner and runner up of the 2012 USA Olympic Marathon Trials are both 37 years old.

Age is never a reason to believe you don't have what it takes to improve your running.

What is an area of your running that I can help you with? Is it coaching?

I have been in contact with other runners recently who struggle with motivation.


How do I get to the next level in my running? How do I not slow down? These are combo questions that I have heard over the years from other runners I have been around.

Well, I can assure you I have been there and motivation is at the heart of getting over things are dealing with in our training.

I could spend hours listening to someone better than me about how to be better. Consider 5 Running Mistakes To Learn From.

He who would ignite a fire in others must himself glow – Olympic Distance Coach Joe Vigil

Have you ever hit mile 16 to 18 in the marathon and really questioned continuing? How about mile 6 or 7?

It isn't a good feeling and when that happens all you can ask is, ‘How do people maintain the whole 26.2 without slowing down'.

Have you ever thought back to that perfect race when everything was flawless. You were on cruise control, total autopilot and every move your competitors made you easily reacted to? I am listening!

You have to let go of all the stress you put on yourself to perform and simply do the work. It is the only thing you can control.

The worry, the wondering of what people will say or think if you don't succeed really don't matter.

If they care about you enough and respect your hard work, then you will eventually nail your performance by not having that stress weighing on you.

Seek Out What Great People Do

For the past 33 years, I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: “if today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?” An whenever the answer has been “No” for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something…almost everything-all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure-these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose   -Steve Jobs

If someone or something you have read depicts your capability as less than what you believe it is. Disregard and drive on.

It was hard hearing from a friend and someone that I looked up to while I was a 2.43 marathoner that I should quit. He was a 2.16.00 marathoner at the time.

I will be the first person to admit that when I first arrived to the Army World Class Athlete Program that I didn't have the credentials to be considered.

Who was I, being a 2.43 marathoner and 51.51 10-miler, to be entering a unit where you needed at the very least, a 2.22.00 marathon time?

Be Willing To Risk

All courses of action are risky, so prudence is not in avoidance danger (it's impossible), but calculating risk and acting decisively. Make mistakes of ambition and not mistakes of sloth. Develop the strength to do bold things, not the strength to suffer – Niccolo Machiavelli, The Prince

It was extremely humbling and I knew I had to work harder than anyone thought I was capable of working to earn a time like that. What I had and what I stress to you in this post, is someone, a group of people perhaps, who gave me a chance.

They reached out.

So what are you struggling with today? Is there something I can help you out with in your running that someone else hasn't given you? What is an opportunity I can assist you with to turn your running around? 

I am struggling with the fact that I will not be able to race this entire year due to military responsibilities. It is hard.

Keep your goals in the back of your mind at all times and know this, people do care!

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