There are a lot of variables that come into play during training, and especially during a race. What works for one person may not work for another. Part of figuring out what works for you is through trial and error. Unfortunately, that usually involves making mistakes, working hard and leaving you feeling defeated.
One of my favorite quotes is by Denis Waitley, who said, “There are no mistakes or failures, only lessons.”
You must make the mistake before you can learn. You must try before you can grow. You must use those setbacks and turn them into comebacks.
I have certainly had my share of mistakes during training over the few years I have been running, but I learned from them and moved forward. When I first set out to run races, I thought, “why not?” but did not fully comprehend the importance of putting in the hours of training. In fact, I did very little training. For my first few half marathons, I walked and ran my way through the 13.1 miles. Once I found the spark of loving to run, however, I began running on a regular basis and drastically improved my time in the subsequent half marathons.
It took a few tough races for me to realize the mistakes I was making before it actually set in, but by making those mistakes I know I will not do it again. It certainly leaves an impression!
This is just one example of the mistakes I have made, but I am sure I will continue to learn as I continue moving forward and progressing in the sport of running. That is one of my mantras to all athletes: strive for progress, not perfection. Something to remember is this important life lesson: nobody is perfect. It’s hard to always keep this in mind, especially when you are working toward a goal and there may be setbacks. Don’t sweat the small stuff, continue to learn and grow on a daily basis!
For more on the Saucony 26 Strong program, which pairs up 13 coaches with 13 marathon rookies, visit 26Strong.com.