Thursday, December 4, 2014

Setbacks, and Successes, Increase Motivation

After a day and a half of moping around I realized that not racing the marathon this weekend is fueling my desire to race well in the future. That is a good thing. Motivation can suffer when things seem to plod along monotonously. Even in the last two months I wondered if trying to race this marathon was the best thing.

Now, the mix of successes and failures that serves to best motivate any person is hard to say. I only really have myself as evidence, and I am sure most people have a different mix. In other words, failures are a necessary part of motivation. If we did something well the first time we tried, we wouldn't appreciate it. Yet on the other hand, without successes of increasing value, one can get discouraged. As a concrete example, while a DNS for a marathon is upsetting, and a DNS on Mt. Everest is downright depressing, I won the 24 hour national championships by 18 miles this year, that's a decent value success.

A coach from the west coast a few years ago, Salazar or maybe Schumacher, said that you want to set goals that you reach about 50% of the time. That way they are not too hard, and not too easy. It is quite possible that I do well with only 1/3 success reaching my goals and 2/3s failure. Hard to say though because success is often how we define it. While I didn't climb on Mt. Everest, otherwise the trip went great for me! I set the speed record on Kalla Pattar, did some backpacking and simple mountaineering, and ran an 8:07 mile at 16,950 feet on sand. Hard to call that trip strictly a failure.

So it is with this DNS at CIM 2014, the race itself may be a failure, but I ran a 28 minute 8k only four weeks after the 24 hour run, and I had a number of other strong workouts showing what kind of recovery is possible.

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