It’s called failing and it is something that as humans we are all afraid of. “I can’t do that, I won’t be any good”, “I am not good enough”, ” I am too slow”, “I am too old”, “I am not experienced enough”, “I won’t fit in”, “I couldn’t possibly run with them”…..heard it all before?
Now running is hard, yes….hard when you start from scratch, hard when you begin any big training program to see it through, hard when you are slogging through a race, but why do we insist on putting so much pressure on ourselves that we are destined to fail; the one thing that we are afraid of. Well I am here to tell you that there is no such thing as failure.
Every time that you lace up those shoes you need to remind yourself why you are running, and that running is a journey. Imagine that your running journey is like constructing a building. The first thing to recognise is that every time that you go for a run, you are adding a new dimension to the building. Sometimes we are adding a whole floor at a time (like our peak mileage days), and sometimes we are adding the expensive trimmings (like our speed sessions or intervals), and then sometimes we are adding the finishing touches, like our tapers. Each time we add a new dimension to the building things start taking shape. At times we need to pull the layers down and start over as injury or illness takes over, but we re-adjust the plan and start to build again until the construction is complete. We don’t demolish the whole building.
When it comes to the unveiling (i.e. race day or what have you) you can look back and see that your building did indeed take a lot of hard work, commitment, changes and refining and that there were times that you wanted to tear the whole building down and start again because you didn’t like the way it looked, or that you felt that the finishing touches were not quite what you thought they would be due to varying factors, but you did your best, and you kept at it day and night, building what you wanted to build, so now it is time to show it off to the world.
There isn’t any point comparing your building to another because you built it yourself and it is unique. It was your journey, your sweat and tears and your design. All that matters is that you are happy with the result and that you put the effort in.
The actual meaning of failure is “lack of success”. I beg you to define what that is. What makes you a successful runner? Is it getting under a certain time in a marathon? It is going a certain distance? Is it just getting out there? What makes one person more successful than another? Does elitism define success? If so, what about the 10,000 other people running at an event? Are they less successful than the top 10?
I’m asking you to turn that around and tell yourself that every run is a success, because every run I will learn something; I will take something away to help me build my building. It will be defined by me and measured by me and as long as I am giving it what I have, I will not fail. I can not fail. I can only keep building towards my own personal success.