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The Hope of The Distance Runner

  Tara Welling  is the most hopeful runner I've ever coached. She has rebounded from so many difficult setbacks and yet, despite it all, she manages to become an improved version of herself with each comeback.

Tara Welling is the most hopeful runner I've ever coached. She has rebounded from so many difficult setbacks and yet, despite it all, she manages to become an improved version of herself with each comeback.

Hope is one of the most important feelings a human can experience. Hope elected the 44th President of the United States, as well as the 45th. It is what propelled Alan Webb to an American Record and numerous injuries which sadly ended his career.

How can this be? Hope, in fact, is a double edged sword.

There are two different types of hope — the hope for change in the future and hope for a return to the past. Both can fuel the distance runner. 

The more popular type of hope is for future change. Typically, this projected change is thought of as an improvement, growth, or an upgrade. For the distance runner, it is a hope invested in actions which result in better coaching, improved training, a new group, faster times, and/or higher places. I've noticed it is regularly coupled with a desire for the improvement to be realized in a consistent, steady, upward trajectory, void of any hiccups.

But such is a myth. We know progress zigs and zags. 

The other hope is for a return to the way things were. Usually, this is felt by the runner in the twilight in their career or coming back from a long, frustrating layoff. These runners want a return to their glory days when personal bests and high finishes came easier. They constantly ask, "how can I get back to where I once was?"

I'm not here to decide which is better or more useful. But I would like to offer you encouragement.

When you feel a sense of hope in regards to your running, pause and reflect on which variety you're feeling, and if it is useful to you. Either can be of value or detriment, it depends on the runner. But whatever you do, make a clear choice about what hope you've signed up for to sustain your efforts.

Personally, I'm excited for what lies around the next corner. I live for the new with my eyes focused forward on the road ahead instead of gazing at my rear view mirror. 

 

Thanks for reading. I'm glad you're here. // jm 

Jonathan Marcus