To seize everything you ever wanted in one moment
Would you capture it or just let it slip?”
– Eminem, Lose Yourself
(Photo by Richard Edelstein)
Last Labor Day I ran Franklin Classic 10k race in Franklin, TN. To train for it I ran 100 consecutive days for at least 30 minutes. My weight was down and my endurance was elevated. I was ready.
My friend Phil told me to start off slow and increase my speed with each mile. He said most people burn themselves out in the first few miles because they get excited and don’t pace themselves. Being and ultramarathon runner , I knew Phil’s advice would be sound.
After a quick warm up I started off at my low end pace. Gradually, with each mile I sped up. On the last mile I poured it on. I gave it all the energy I had. I thought my heart was going to explode! Then I thought, “Go ahead, explode. Then I will no longer have any problems. But right now I am giving my all no matter what!”
During the race I passed many people who were better runners than me. I passed young and old, muscular and thin. Two things helped me get by them:
1.) Efficiency – I kept good form. I knew if I was to run my best time I would not be able to waste my movements. I kept my arms by my side, took short steps and pretended I had a string attached to my head pulling me up (I heard this helps form). Many other people, who were faster than me, were swinging there arms back and fourth making themselves tired after only a few miles. They would have finished at a faster rate if they only kept proper form and burned less energy.
2.) “You gotta have heart” – I wanted my best time. I had a rule, “no one passes me!”. I started at the back of the line in the beginning of the race. I made an honest assessment of my average speed and started there. As the race progressed and my competitive spirit kicked in and I worked harder. I wasn’t the fastest out of the chute, but I finished strong! By the last mile I simply would not tolerate anything than my absolute best. I gave it my all. There was nothing left in my tank when I crossed the finish line. As it should be.
3.) I was in it for the long haul – A 10k was a lot for me at that time. I was so excited once the race began that I wanted to take off as fast as I could. Pacing myself at the beginning felt like pulling back on the reigns of a race horse to keep it from running. It was counter-intuitive but I held back and paced myself. It paid off at the half-way mark. I had the energy to finish strong instead of burning out in the beginning.
4.) Get wise council – Phil’s advice on pacing myself was crucial to achieving my best time in the race. He advised me in pacing myself and in holding proper form. Without those two elements I would have never had the chance to give it my all. Whether it is from wise friends, a mentor, or a coach, get council from other people you respect and who have been there before.
How can you use these four lessons to increase your chances of hitting your goals?