Coaches are the soothsayers of the sports world. If you follow the right steps on your quest for success, we say, you will be rewarded at the conclusion of your journey. The odyssey will be filled with trials and tribulations that will test you. The adventure will have its rough patches that cause you to question if you are on the right path or have been led astray. In the end, it is your path alone to follow, even though there are others who are going through similar challenges.
So what is the secret to successfully reaching your goals? What is the secret to running success?
The secret to running success really isn't that much of a secret. Success is found through consistent, diligent training. It is just like going for a run: you must take one step at a time. There are no shortcuts. There is no lottery to win, no leapfrogging over the work that must be done. We must invest in our goals—not just monetarily (though our goals will require some of that, as well), but with our time and efforts, such as foam rolling or taking classes to improve functional strength and flexibility. Investment may mean setting aside our ego and asking for help or taking our foot off the gas pedal when we run. It may simply mean putting in more work recovering.
To find the right path for your goal, you must first define what your goal is. It needs to be realistic, a goal that both challenges you to grow as an athlete, yet is achievable. Once you have your goal, you need to establish a process to reach that goal. This is where finding an educated, experienced coach and/or training program is key. You also need to recruit a support network to help you. Family and friends are great cheerleaders, but finding a support group going through similar experiences is worth its weight in gold.
No path to reaching a challenging goal is linear. We will, and should have our highs and lows. One moment we’ll feel like we have it all figured out; the next, we’ll hit a major setback. Success and challenges along the way temper us and strengthen us to rise above. They are what make achieving our goals so emotional. As John Wooden, arguably the most successful coach of all time, said, "Success is never final. Failure is never fatal. It's courage that counts." Be strong and intelligent in your pursuit of your goals, and you will be successful. Remember, success is a little like wrestling a gorilla. You don't quit when you're tired. You quit when the gorilla is tired.
Good Luck and Happy Racing!
Tim Cary is FLEET FEET's Assistant Training Manager, coach of the FLEET FEET-sponsored Runnababez Elite team, and manager of the FLEET FEET Racing Team. Over his 20 years of coaching, Tim has coached athletes to three national team championships, five national individual championships, two national records, and numerous All-American and All-State honors. Click here to receive Tim's weekly article via email.