Success means different things to different people, and its a motivating factor many areas of our lives. Before one can strive for success, the individual must first define what that “success” looks like.
Since this is a running blog, we’re focusing on success in running. There are many tips and training programs out there that promise to elevate your performance to new levels, but what’s right for you? That depends on what you want to accomplish! Every runner has different goals, for example:
- I want to lose weight; get fit; etc.
- I want to run at least once a day #runstreak
- I want to train for my first… (5k; 10k; half marathon; marathon; ultra; etc.)
- I want to achieve a time goal… (PR or PB; qualify for Boston; etc.)
- I want to run faster; longer; more often
- I want to run to promote my charity
- I want to race more frequently (12 races in 12 months, 1 race every weekend, 2 races in a single weekend, etc.)
As you can see (and probably noticed if you’ve been in the running community for some time), many runners run for different reasons. But what is success and how do you achieve it?
First lets look at what success is. Success can be defined as the accomplishment of an aim or purpose. In running there is not just 1 singular aim or purpose, every individual has to define what it is they want to accomplish. For many, success is measured by achieving specific goals. But depending on the goal it’s recommended that runners have an A goal, B goal and sometimes a C goal.
Lets be honest, every Olympic athlete has a goal of winning a Gold medal, but does that mean they wouldn’t be happy with a Silver or Bronze? For example if you have a goal of qualifying for Boston, you may come up short of that goal, but set a PR in the process.
Once you set your goal(s), its time to determine how you will work to achieve them. A specific training/nutrition program? Calendar reminders? Joining a running group/community? Hiring a trainer?
One of the best ways to learn how to achieve a goal is to learn from someone who has already achieved that goal. Better yet from someone who has an established track record of success in that area.
For many runners success is not about achieving a single goal, rather several goals over a period of time. Resist the urge to tackle too many things at once. Focus on 1 goal at a time, and/or make sure your multiple goals make sense together. It may be easy to get caught up in what everyone else is doing but the runners who are successful focus on what is necessary to ensure their own success.
Personally, I don’t sign up for very many races throughout the year because my focus is to train for a fast marathon to qualify for Boston, but someone who has a goal of running 12+ marathons in a year may decide not to race every one in order to ensure they will successfully make it through them all.
Finally, sometimes to achieve success it’s necessary to take a step back. If you are an often injured runner for example, or always coming up short of your goal in races, it may be a wise decision to step back and analyze your strategy. Do you need to adjust your running form, add or subtract from your weekly mileage, add cross training, modify your race strategy? It’s said that insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results, don’t let stubbornness hold you back!
I’ve seen many runners achieve amazing things! Make sure your goals are realistic and you are willing to what it takes to reach them and you can achieve amazing things as well!