Now more than ever, runners of all ages and interests have opportunities to be the best they can be. No longer are the days of a small handful of elites that make up the only competitive runners. Today, if you want to be a competitive runner, you can. As a lifestyle, a hobby, or a profession, you decide how serious to take your sport.
One reason this is possible is the access to running tools. Especially for long distance events, all the training information is available. Marathoners and coaches are typically willing to share their training “secrets.” Books, training gear, coaching sessions and more are available to anyone who is interested.
With the running community as strong as ever, there are also more running niches that you can be a part of. Obstacle course events, ultramarathons, long-distance relays, and trail races are just some examples. You don’t need to qualify for Boston to prove that you love running and that you are good at it.
With all that said, running will always be about what you can do, based on your life situations. Being a competitive runner is a mindset, not a race time or place. Being competitive is fun, it’s a challenge, and it’s fulfilling. When you choose to be competitive, running stops becoming a chore and starts becoming a challenge. Choose challenge.
Your life, Your Best
Jonathan Beverly is the Editor-in-Chief of Podium Runner, an author, a coach, and a lifelong runner. But to him, more than all of that, he is also a father. Throughout his life his priorities have changed occasionally, like they do for all of us, but for the last 18 years, his number one priority has been his children.
On today’s Running for Real podcast, Jonathan gives insight to our running goals, our priorities and how to come to terms with the balance between the two. He talks about what he found when he studied a group of elites for the five weeks leading up to their marathon, including what they ate, how far they ran, and more. Tune in or read on to be a faster version of you.
Your Individual Potential
Nearly everyone’s potential is limited to more than their genetics and muscle makeup. If running is the number one priority in your life, if you want to be the best at all costs, and if you have the determination to do so, than you just might be an elite runner. However, if that sentence didn’t describe you, you still have wonderful opportunities to be great.
For most of us, running doesn’t show up till 2,3, or 27 on our list of priorities. Since that is the case, STOP setting silly goals or day dreaming about how good you could be if all the stars aligned. Your goals ought to be based on your priorities, not someone else’s.
Of course, it is okay to dream, encouraged in fact. But if being the best runner you could possibly be meant you had to give up your beautiful family, your dream job, or any number of other things you value, would you still want to be that runner. Probably not.
How to Set Goals
So how should you set goals then? Jonathan says it begins with being brutally honest.
What are your limitations? What are some things that come before running? What aspects of running do you enjoy most? If you love running for the social connections, don’t be so concerned about setting goals that take away from that. And if running is your precious time to yourself, don’t feel obligated to say yes to a running group.
Discover what it is you want from running. Set a base goal, and then go from there. Maybe you just want to be able to run eight miles on any given day. Add loftier goals only after getting to that point. Be honest with yourself and you won’t ever feel let down.
When Jonathan studied a group of elites five weeks before the Boston marathon, he found that they didn’t have particularly impressive workouts, but they did consistently put in the miles. The impressive part was the day after day workout commitment. Like all of us, they had good days and bad days, recovery days and hill days. But every day, they got out the door to run.
This is the best lesson we can learn from great runners. If you want to be competitive, to be the best runner you can be, the only way you can find out is if you get out there.
Decide what you want to be, organize your priorities, be honest with yourself, and then challenge yourself to get out there every day to see what you can become.
Listen to the Running for Real Podcast here:
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Thank you to Jonathan, I look forward to hearing your thoughts on the show.