Thursday, June 14, 2007


It’s probably no surprise that just the hint of warm weather on the day of a marathon can lead to some scattered thinking. I already mentioned coming up with a Plan B and buying new shorts (although not really weather related). I’ve also had thoughts of changing shoes – going with trainers if I’m going to be running slower than I originally planned. Today I’ve decided to go with my original shorts and shoes. If it’s warm/hot on race morning, I’ll just go with Plan B at that point – shorts and shoes be damned.

Just an easy 3 miles this morning and it felt pretty good. I probably won't run tomorrow, but I may do some walking/jogging after I get to town, seeing that I'll have to spend about 4 hours in the car getting to my parent's house and then another hour to get to Duluth.

Since I don’t have anything else to say, I thought I’d share an article written by Coach Matt. I trained with Matt and his training group for the last 2 years. Although I’m not training with them right now, I attribute much of my success this spring to Matt and his training group and the year-over-year training we did together.


I LOVE TO RACE, and I LOVE TO WATCH THE RACES of athletes that I coach. Each race has a unique appeal, whether it be the splendor of the venue, the challenges of the race course, or the chance to witness athletes reveal their skills and desire. I have learned to appreciate races as a performing art, where an arena defined by a measured distance becomes a showcase for the freedom of expression, the exhibition of inspirational feats, and the display of passion.

BUT LET’S GET TO THE NITTY GRITTY; we all race to attain a degree of personal fulfillment and satisfaction for our efforts and our results. After all, we train for hours each week to race well, and we race with a mindset that hopes for a personal best time or an acceptable ranking within our division. As performing artists, we love to chase the internal and external prizes that await us at the finish line.

IT CAN BE TOO EASY to transform into an athlete who measures their race efforts and level of success by a results page that lists the facts: finish time, race splits, and finish place. I know from both racing and coaching that the higher you climb on the results page, the easier it becomes to narrow your definition of acceptable results to personal best times, trips to the top of the awards podium, and the appearance of your name in the media.

I THINK WE EASILY BECOME PRISONERS to the timing chip and the finish line clock when we race in endurance sports. A focus on finish time, average speed, and race splits can distract us from not only enjoying the race, but from unleashing our personal best performance. Too often I hear athletes focus on finish time and place, when they should take pride in their ability to push themselves to a challenging level of discomfort for the duration of their event.

THE MOST EFFECTIVE RACE FOCUS is not on the finish time and place – it is on the present moment on the race course. Athletes who do their very best minute-by-minute are those who get absorbed in a flow state that adds up to a personal best effort. They are successful because they direct 100% of their focus to overcoming the current challenge that the race presents, which helps them to climb higher on the results page.

EVERY ATHLETE FINISHES IN 2 PLACES at the end of each race: on the results page, and in the venue. Remember to savor both to fully enjoy the racing experience that includes pre-event training, fellow competitors, supportive companions, race day challenges, the pride associated with pushing your mind and muscles to new levels of discomfort, and the post-race festivities.

Don’t be a prisoner to the timing chip or the finish line clock. When you finish your race, ask yourself, “Did I give my best effort for the entire distance? Did I meet or surpass my standards for race day mental toughness? Did I overcome in-race challenges by remaining persistent? And did I maintain a positive mental focus?”

As you approach or reflect upon your next race, realize that in the end, we are all fortunate to still be “doing it.” Sport competitions are, after all, a celebration of fitness, desire, and good old head-to-head competition. Always give thanks for the opportunity to toe the line as you chase your next goal – before and after you scan the race results page.


Anonymous said...

I have been reading your blog everyday since I started training for Grandmas.
This is year's Grandmas is going to be the first marathon for me, and I have never done anything like this ever in my life. I have been training with LTF running club, and its been an amazing journey, I can't belive an ordinary person like me can do this. My coaches are awasome group of people who taught me so many things, about running and life in particular during last 17 weeks which is unbelivable.
Every long run on Saturdays was a lessons learned about my body and mind, and now its almost showtime.
Todays blog is a good inspiration for me since I'm going through with rookie jitters.What pair of socks I should be wearing etc etc. Coach Matt article was awesome, it fits me well that I should concetrate on enjoying the moment and the race rather just be too worried about time and chip. All I want to do is to do my best and hopefully I'll have enough mental and physicall strenght to finish what I started.(which is an entirely different story)

I just noticed that I don't have any gel left, so I have to run to the ruuning store , don't want to leave anything for tommrow.

Thank You, you have been an inspiration. Good Luck with your race and please wish me luck.


Chad said...


Thanks for the nice comments. I think you're in for an amazing experience this weekend. As with any "firsts" you won't forget your first marathon. Best of luck. Please stop by or email me afterwards and let me know how the race went.

Mike said...

Good, even splits today Chad (I'll save it for someone else to spill the beans). Looks like you had a great race, congratulations on a good effort.

Anonymous said...

What Mike said...he beat me to it AGAIN! How does he do it??

Nice race on a warm day. It will be interesting to see how this nearly perfectly split race felt for you.

Congrats and enjoy the recovery.

Anonymous said...

Solid. Very solid. You've got a lot more in you than that, I'd say. bet it felt horrible and good at the same time?

Ryan said...

Great result, Chad. Amazingly consistent splits. Hope you enjoyed it.

Chad said...

Thanks guys!