During my 20 miler last week, I was thinking about what it takes to reach a goal and how I got to this point of feeling trained, confident and prepared. A few things stuck out in my mind, which are not secrets by any stretch, but worth noting. I think a lot of athletes pick goals but don’t realize just how much goes into achieving them. Here are a few things I think are key to supporting a race goal:
Commitment – I am 100% committed to my goal. It’s not a goal my coach set for me. Nor is it one she needs to push or motivate me to achieve. It’s my goal and I want it badly enough that I am willing to do whatever it takes during training to set me up for success on race day. I don’t care if it hurts, I don’t care if I miss out on things (see next point), I made the commitment and I’m going to see it through.
Sacrifice – With racing comes a lot of sacrifices. If you’re truly committed, you’ll make the sacrifice. It’s that simple, really. It’s not always easy to do this but you can’t always have your cake and eat it, too. Over the past few months I’ve turned down nights out, went to bed early instead of unwinding in front of the tv, spent even more time in my dreaded car to drive to locations that mimic race day terrain, etc. Sure it sucked at times but I’m willing to do it because I want my goal…badly.
Execution – I execute exactly how my coach instructs me to in the workouts. Meaning, if I have an easy zone 1 run, I run in only zone 1. Even if the slower pace is boring and I feel like a million bucks and know I can run faster, I stick to what the plan says. If I have a hard workout, I try my hardest to hit the numbers and paces. Sometimes I nail it, others I struggle. But I try my hardest to execute as per the plan. This also goes for rest days. If it’s on the schedule, I do it and resist the urge of adding in any additional workouts.
My own thing – I run my workouts, not anyone else’s. The only time I’ve run with someone over the past few months is because they adapted to my workout. This happened twice so I was out there alone pretty much all the time. Only running my workout may sound selfish but running someone else’s or adjusting mine so I could have company doesn’t get me closer to my goal. There also won’t be anyone out there on race day pulling me along when it gets tough so doing my own thing has me prepared for that.
Preparation – Before hard efforts and long runs, I prep. I make sure nutrition is spot on, that I get enough sleep, that I get off my feet (which is pretty much impossible for me) whenever I can. Every day I’m thinking about how my decisions today will affect my workout in the days to come.
Excuses – This one is easy…I don’t make them.
As I near the end of this training cycle, I’m feeling really prepared and ready for Shamrock. I finished my long run last week knowing I’ve done what I needed to do to get me to my goal. On race day, it will come down to the race gods and my body showing up to race. I didn’t magically get to this point, I’m not a naturally gifted runner. I worked really hard to prepare for this race. I had good days and bad days, both teaching me something that will come in handy on race day. And when I toe the line in a few weeks, I’ll know I was committed to my goal. I made sacrifices for it. I pushed myself and executed to the best of my ability. I’ll know all the hard work was worth it and that I’m ready.