Monday, February 27, 2006

YOU TOO CAN BE GREAT

Not much to report running-wise today. Since I’m keeping my mileage low for the first few days of the week (and since I run with my training group on Tuesday night) I decided to run at night rather than in the morning. That allows me to sleep in till 6 for a couple of days. So I ran an easy 8 miles on the treadmill tonight while watching mindless sitcoms.

I still haven’t really figured out how I want to approach blogging about mental training. When I read something interesting I’ll probably just post it. Plus I’ll post what my training is like.

I’ll preface this story (from The Total Runner) by saying I have no idea if it’s true or not, but it is a great example of visualization:

Hundreds of years ago in ancient China, a famous, accomplished concert pianist was incarcerated by the opposing fraction for his participation in a regional uprising. After eight years of solitary confinement, he became a free man. Four weeks into his “new” life, he put on a performance that was judged by his peers to have gone beyond anything he had ever done. Amazed by this, they asked how this could be possible having been in an empty cell for so long. He stated that he diligently rehearsed for this concert for hours each day. But there was no piano, they said. His reply was that although they took the instrument, they left the mind: he “felt” the keys; “saw” his hands sliding across them; “heard” the intricate melodies; and “smelled” the perspiration on his body after an arduous “recital.”


Recently I wrote that the “key” to being a successful runner (or anything else) is so surround your self with successful, like-minded people. As much as I’d like to think I came up with that concept, I was browsing through The Competitive Edge last night and came across a section on this topic. The section opens like this;

We are influenced by forces exerted by others, an infinite array of behaviors, of things people do and don’t do, of strokes that sustain us and abrasions that sap our energy. A handshake, a nod, an encouraging word, a piece of true advice, a smile, a compliment, an approving look, a heart-to-heart talk, a cheer, a hug. A frown, a shove, a shun, a word behind your back, a disloyalty, a knock, an insensitive remark, a criticism, a boo, a lie.

I’ve seen runners of extreme talent reduced to cinders and their racing destroyed by the people around them. I’ve also seen runners of little ability buoyed and inspired to great racing by the people around them.


Elizabeth and Curly Su have also posted on this topic recently. So today’s quote of the day is dedicated to them.
Quote of the Day:
“Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the really great make you feel that you, too, can be great.” Mark Twain

6 comments:

Joggerblogger said...

Hi, just came across your blog and enjoyed having a good read :-) I've been running for the last 7 months and have done a couple of 10k's and a half. Really enjoying running now and to help keep me motivated I have also started a blog. Bye for now.

pjm said...

"Hundreds of years ago in China" I don't think they had pianos. (The piano is only ~250-300 years old, IIRC, and didn't make it to China until the late 19th C.)

But change the instrument and I think I've heard that story, yes.

Chad Austin said...

Parker, let's change it to flute - in honor of Curly Su.

Ryan said...

Hi Zeke

Very inspiring post. Thanks for your comments and words of encouragement on my blog. I think you're right that I have potential to go after some faster marathon times. Just need to decide if I am going to go after it and commit to more mileage. A friend of mine wants to go after 3:00 in Chicago. His PR is 3:09 in Philly. I would like to get to 3:09 to qualify for Boston at some point. Training for Chicago may be when I kick up a notch.

E-Speed said...

Good post Zeke.

I like the thought of surrounding yourself by successful people. I think running with the club I have been played a large role in my marathon debut being "successful." You hang out with successful people and success doesn't seem so difficult to attain.

Chad Austin said...

Ryan, hopefully I didn't sound like a "know-it-all." I only try to do that on my blog, not others. :-)

Anyway, I really think something as "simple" as Pfitz's 18-week, 55 mpw program would get you a BQ.

Elizabeth, thanks. I think people realize that "surrounding yourself" can also be done in cyberspace through blogs, emails, message boards, etc. as well as running groups, friends, family coaches, etc.