Thursday, October 10, 2013

The Mental Box of Possible Performance

I build a box, mentally of possible performances that I will run, I do this for any given race, but since I put so much effort into a marathon I might as well describe the mental picture.
Mental Box of Possible Performances
Basically, I'm always looking forward. I follow the professional runners at the top. I read their interviews. I model my training after their training. However, I don't do the same to the other end of the spectrum. This is actually a very good description of my mental marathon performance picture. With all due respect to the effort people put in to finish a marathon, let alone run 2:40s and 2:50s, I don't recognize those as possibilities for me.

The goal is to be realistic. Avoid making claims I can't back up. At the same time, I can't get complacent with how I have done in the past. I could think, 'wow, I've run 2:30 and 2:34! That's great, a lot of people will try hard and never have those performances.' However, that mentality is not conducive to extremely hard work. I mean the work that is just tortuous. Mile 24, one could just jog it in for the finish, but those next couple miles could make minutes of difference, which could be the difference between huge success and abysmal failure. 

Everyone does this, at my speed and faster. A bad day for Dathan Ritzenhein would be a 2:11 and a great day would be 2:05. Except for him hundreds of thousands of dollars are on the line. 

In the search for what is possible, I must recognize that today, this week, this month, this year, I have physical limits. What those limits are next year? No one knows.

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