“Do I want to do well on my terms? Or do I want to do it on the terms of what the race is going to require?”
Love love love this quote. It’s from the “Training the Mind” chapter in The Lore of Running (by Tim Noakes). The quote is from Mark Allen describing what he believes were the psychological reasons for his success (in winning the 1989 Hawaiian Ironman – when he had tried and lost six previous times).
If you have the book, read the two pages (page 523 – 524 of the Fourth Edition). Too much for me to write here. But essentially in the first six attempts, Allen had backed off, not given it his all, been afraid, and found one reason or another to pull back. He was mentally sabotaging himself. But the time he actually won, in 1989, he came from behind (14 minutes behind the leader going into the run) and finally told himself that he had to give it 100% (and he finally let himself give 100%).
Noakes writes, “What is particularly compelling about this story is that Allen is one of the most physically gifted athletes in any sport who trained as hard as was humanly possible. Yet, the ultimate success of his career rested on his insight that taught him the core question: Was he prepared to give whatever it took to win the Ironman or just what he was prepared to take? Only when he had answered that question could he make the physicial and psychological adaptions necessary for his success.”
Since I started this new round of marathon training, with this coach who is truly inspirational and motivating, I’ve felt different about myself and my running. I feel ready to stop sabotaging myself mentally, to stop pulling back when it gets hard in training and races. I truly do feel like I’m ready to give whatever it takes to get an ultra-speedy marathon time and not just give what I am prepared to take. No more holding back.