The news came on Wednesday morning. The 2016 Boston Marathon qualifying times are 2 minutes and 28 seconds faster than the qualifying standard for age groups. I quickly saw my social media feeds turn to the Boston Marathon. Some folks were elated — I got in! Others were dejected — I can’t believe the time is so much faster than last year! Others still were accepting — too bad, but there’s always next year!
The varying degrees of success and failure within sports is vast and sweeping. There are those of us that have goals but don’t seem too let down when a goal isn’t achieved. Then there are others who simply can’t accept that sometimes failure is inevitable. And there are others that fall somewhere in the middle of the spectrum.
As a coach, I find it critical to convey to my athletes the importance of perspective. In order to be a successful runner [mother, father, friend, professional] — you need to accept that you can work harder than anyone else on the same project or in the same household, or on the same field, and sometimes it just ain’t gonna happen. Other times, it may seem like you haven’t worked much at all, but POOF! you nail every workout, hit every pace, and snag your PR with minutes to spare. It’s a toss of the dice, really. In other words, you just gotta roll with it.
To help keep things in perspective, I put together this little list of different ways we runners work toward and achieve our goals. As we are in the throes of the fall racing season, I thought this particularly timely to help you stay focused as you tackle your fall race. Whatever your race and whatever your goal, one thing is held in common — we are all chasing the dream. What’s the dream exactly? It varies. Let’s examine:
1. Achieving a personal record or personal best (PR or PB, respectively).
You’ve trained all summer long. It was sweltering. Those of you down south or out west likely moved indoors to train on the treadmill during the hottest months in your geographical location. Those of us in the northern U.S. have enjoyed a nice summer of training outdoors. Early mornings. Quiet roads. A lot of miles. All the training, all the sweat, all the miles culminate into one final day. The race. The PR we have been working toward all summer long. It’s achievable. We can do this.
2. Being accepted into the Grand Prix of racing — the Boston Marathon.
Well as you know, astoundingly, qualifying times for the 2016 Boston Marathon are 2 minutes and 28 seconds faster than the qualifying standard for age groups. That means more than 4,000 runners have not been accepted into the highly sought after, creme de la creme, Boston Marathon. I know a lot of runners out there are devastated. They’ve worked all year long to fine-tune their skills and their speed. Their bodies were well-oiled machines and they did what a lot of runners can’t do. They raced and got in under posted age group standards. There will be other BQ races, and there will be more chances. And for those of you that have gotten in, kudos on a job well done. You rocked it and you’re on your way to racing the most prestigious marathon in the world.
3. Staying injury free.
Some of you are just racing the fall season to have fun. You probably raced in the spring and maybe walked away with an unforeseen injury and now your goal has shifted. Your main goal for fall racing is to remain injury-free and have fun. Get after it — live it up! Go slow when you have to, but enjoy your race.
4. Just finishing.
A lot of you — and I mean a lot — are running your first marathon this fall. And what that usually means is that you’re running just to finish. You’re running for the glory of being able to say you ran a marathon. I say good for you! I did the same in the spring and
walked hobbled away a marathon finisher. I wasn’t so proud at the time, and I humbly put my 26.2 magnet on my car. I didn’t feel quite right about it at first. But now, 4 months later, I realize how epic a 26.2 mile journey truly can be. It’s a life-changing experience. So I say to all you first time marathoners — you’ve got this! Get in there, stay focused, walk when you have to, and get that bling!
5. Running a bucket list race.
Now this is the way to race, if I do say so myself! There are so many awesome races out there and what seems like such little time. When I hear of friend X running an amazing race in the Florida Keys, or friend Y racing in Colorado, my insides get all twisted up and I get anxious because I literally want to RUN ALL THE RACES! Fall is the perfect time to run a bucket list race. Cooler temperatures make running in a new location a lot of fun. There’s less potential for adverse running conditions that you’re not used to (ie extreme heat and humidity), and if you’re racing in the midwest or northeast, you’ll get some pretty great views of the leaves changing and the fall sunshine.
Goals, successes, failures. They ebb and flow. Paths change and interests change. No matter what your goals and intentions, stay focused but realize life is not written in stone. We are changing, dynamic creatures and we have to be flexible. What matters is you got out there, you tried it, you gave it your all. #noexcuses
Tell me… what are YOUR fall racing goals? Did you get in to the Boston Marathon? Did you qualify and not get accepted?
boston marathoncoachfailurefallmarathonperceived effortpersonal recordperspectiveracingrunningsuccesstraining