For a lot of people that I’m currently coaching, it’s now getting close to critical time where their goal is fast approaching. It may be a Half Marathon, full Marathon or perhaps something even bigger. Whatever it is, it’s something that has taken perhaps many months of dedicated focus and preparation.
It’s at this time, when the goal is looming and the pressure starts to build, that I often see some “fraying at the edges” or at least the potential for things to fall apart.
This is true for anything we work hard to achieve. Where there has been a concerted effort towards a particular goal and that effort has taken time, there will always be a tendency for some people to come close, SO CLOSE, and then lose it.
The perfect example of this is a Mountain Climber that attempts to climb Everest. There are countless books that tell this exact story where he/she works for years in the preparation and planning, months in the lead up to the summit push and then when it comes down to that final critical execution, the person doesn’t succeed. The reason? They got carried away and broke the rules. For this example, the rules may have been to wait for the right weather conditions, to ensure they had acclimatized fully or to check and double check their equipment for faults; but for whatever reason… they didn’t.
For you the runner, it is equally important that you play by the rules, particularly when it is coming down to crunch time just before your big challenge.
Here are some of the RULES OF ENGAGEMENT that we all need to adhere to in that all important lead up to your goal:
1) More doesn’t equal better – Increasing your training exponentially won’t give you greater gains necessarily. You still need to build slowly and remember that the laws of science do still apply to your body and that it is only capable of becoming stronger if you challenge it gradually, consistently and at a rate at which it can cope with.
2) Fuel the machine – Your engine can’t run on the smell of an oily rag. As you up the kms or increase the intensity of your training, your nutritional intake and the volume of food needs to be reflective of your output. Be conscious of what you are putting into your mouth and how you are feeling during and after training. If you don’t know what is right and wrong – ask someone who does.
3) Sharpen the saw – Author Steven Covey wrote about the concept of one particular Lumber Jack that would spend a considerable amount of his time sharpening his saw, whereas the others would just focus on cutting down the trees. By sharpening the saw you make your effort so much more effective. Your saw is your body, so make sure it is functioning at its best by getting regular massage, spending time each day stretching, getting adequate sleep, attending to any little niggles straight away and if something doesn’t feel right… then it isn’t. Seek out help from a well respected authority on the topic of your concern and then ACTION THEIR ADVICE.
4) Don’t be an Ostrich – There is always the chance that something can go wrong as you get closer to the big day, but one of the biggest and most common mistakes that I see is the person that thinks they are an Ostrich and sticks their head in the sand and pretends their knee is not bothering them or just assumes that dodgy hip will go away before they reach the start line. This can be your ultimate undoing. Don’t ignore or assume anything. Take note then take action. We are at cause for everything that happens to us or for us.
When we play by these rules we give ourselves the best chance at producing the outcomes we want. So, if today is one step closer to your goal than yesterday was, what are you doing today to work your plan? How can you fuel your machine better? In what ways are you sharpening your saw? Where is your head?
I wish you well in your preparations for your running goals but also in any goal you choose to tackle. It is through the chasing down of these goals that we discover what we are really capable of and the value this holds for us and those whom we can pass it on to.