You are capable of more. There, I said it. I bet it is true. Most of us could push harder, train longer, and race faster if we really wanted to but we don’t. Something always gets in the way of achieving more. This blog isn’t meant to make you feel good. In fact, some of you might be offended and get defensive. You might get your feelings hurt. Yet, sometimes you need to know the truth. You are capable of more! So do it!
Perspective is a powerful thing. I use to think in high school running anything more than 7 or 8 miles was long. My longest runs wouldn’t venture past 10 miles. I thought doing 30 push ups was hard or benching 135 lbs up to 10 times was never going to happen. Well, college cross-country quickly taught me to adjust and change my thinking or I was going to end up having a miserable career. I learned I was capable of much more than I thought. In college long runs would go past 10 miles and doing 50 to 60 push ups all at once was normal. In the gym, I grew stronger, so benching well over 135 lbs up to 10 times became a reality.
However, after college I kept training like college for a while. That’s what I knew. My perspective and expectations were created by my past. Making a leap to the marathon wasn’t hard but my training didn’t adapt well at first. I thought 60 to 70 miles weeks were sufficient. I wanted to get faster and faster but I limited myself on what I needed to do to get there. I was training like an 8k to 10k runner and fading fast in the later miles. In fact, I quit a marathon race at the halfway point. I had never quit a race before. It was devastating! It made me mad! I had a bad taste in my mouth for months! I knew I needed to get stronger, have better endurance, and finish much faster but running more miles and training at higher intensities seemed scary. Maybe I wouldn’t have the time to train differently?
I finally made the leap. I started throwing in 80, then 90, and even over 100 mile weeks consistently. Soon, 100 mile weeks were normal. I even got up to 120 mile weeks in a couple of my training cycles. After marathons came the desire to go longer. Ultra running came calling. Would I have what it takes to complete 50 miles? What about 100? Could I be capable of more? How much more?
In marathon training, I would be happy with 20 to 22 mile long runs. Ultra training demanded more out of me. Could I go 30 to 35 miles or be outside running for 4 to 6 hours nonstop? I found out I could. Soon, 20 mile runs seemed short! My body could not only easily cover 20 miles but it was tough enough to charge on further! Much further! Soon, I was covering even 50 mile runs at practice with still more to give.
Sometimes people (who are pretty decent runners) look at my training or workouts and say they couldn’t do it. They could. I believe a lot of people runners could. Yes, it would take some time to build up to the type of workouts I do. Yes, most people might not run as fast as some of my intervals or tempo’s. Yes, I admit I might have a different level of love for running and my mind is stronger than most runners. Yet, even if people didn’t run exactly what I was running, I can still attest to the fact that “you are capable of more”.
Okay, so some people don’t want to achieve more. If that’s you, that is okay. You don’t always have to have goals, win medals, chase personal records, and feel like you need to be one of the best in your age group. However, if you are one of those that wants to be competitive, get that Boston qualifying time, set personal records, and so on then well….you have to be capable of more. So do it!
Where do I start you ask? Start small. Increase intensity of hard days a little bit. Look to run further a little bit at a time. Achieving more isn’t about a drastic change in a week but small ones over a longer period of time. Don’t worry, the weeks turn into months and then into years and suddenly you’ll realize you doing way more! Small changes become big changes over time. Also, don’t just look to “running and training” things for improvement. You are capable of more in how you eat, how you rest, how you recover, how you stretch, how you strength train, how you prepare mentally and think, how you educate yourself with running, how you gear up, how you put together a solid traning plan, and how you commit to all of these things consistently.
So, do you see it? You are capable of so much more. In fact, I am too. I am still growing and learning on how to maximize my potential. I like dreaming of possibilities but nothing gets handed to us as runners. We have to put the work in. There isn’t an easy way in the road towards improvement. But we knew that didn’t we when we became runners. We runners are a different type of person. Bring on the challenges, the tests, and the pain. If you can be humble and accept this “I am capable of more!”, it is the starting point. Now go an put one foot in front of the other and make it happen friend!