Fitness and Body Health and Wellness

Where Would You Draw The Line Between Success And Failure in Running?

Success is running is not just defined by a new PB nor a single race. Acknowledging all that it took to achieve that and learning from the experience matters too.

“Success isn’t how far you got, but the distance you travelled from where you started.”

Steve Prefontaine

Runners commonly define success by beating their PB in a given distance, whether it is a 5K or ultramarathon. Soon after that happens, they give themselves a celebration to remember, especially after dedicating a considerable amount of time to training just to make it happen.

However, what happens you fell short of your objective? We, runners, are likely to pay attention to the figures on our fitness trackers to find out whether a workout or race was an accomplishment worthy of a celebration. Still, when we perform this, our narrow-thinking mindset comes into play, which then could put us on the path to more setbacks. 

A tremendous impact can be made on your running progress and how you make a comeback from a subpar performance just by the lens through which you define your success. Therefore, before you analyse every detail of your running performance, be mindful of these elements before classifying it as a total failure.

“What Went As I Expected?”

After putting in a considerable amount of effort and time to beat your 10K PB, you still did not perform as expected on the race day itself. Usually, we would always ask ourselves, “What went wrong?” and in the process of finding the answer, we tend to overthink every detail. 

“The point is whether or not I improved over yesterday. In long-distance running the only opponent you have to beat is yourself, the way you used to be.”

Haruki Murakami

However, ask yourself the opposite, “What did I do well?” Is there something else you did great that you can pay attention to instead? Maybe you were able to keep your pace steady at every kilometre, or you were able to keep running without stopping despite not being in the best shape. At times, merely disallowing yourself to quit when things go off track is more than enough to be happy about.

After a less-than-stellar performance, it pays greatly to ask yourself if the reason you failed was due to the goal being too challenging or the insufficient amount of time being spent on training. Maybe you elected to fire up your marathon ahead of your goal pace, and you faltered in the last few kilometres. 

At times, it is worth exerting yourself and observe your true physical capabilities rather than being cautious and thinking if you could have performed any better or differently. It takes willpower and bravery to test your physical limits, and even if it did not pan out the way you expected in the end, you should be proud of yourself for taking the risk.

A Single Race Does Not Define You

Be mindful that a single performance does not reflect the true nature of your physical capabilities as a runner or the advancements you have made thus far. Occasionally, you could adopt one of the best, most vigorous training schedules heading towards your race. However, for unknown reasons, the pieces do not come together as you expected on the day. 

“Focus on the process, not the outcome, and you will enjoy great success”

Dr. Julie Amato

Remember that you should still commemorate the work that you delivered to make it happen, no matter the result. Running requires focus, sheer will, consistency and self-discipline, and not everyone share the same vision as you when it comes to diving into a pool of misery in order to achieve success in the sport. 

Runners who focus on the process are more resilient to failures than those who solely focus on the outcome. Runners who emphasise the journey instead of the destination can make a comeback faster and put themselves in a better position to reach their goal in the next race.

One More Thing: Embrace The Learning Adventure

“It was being a runner that mattered, not how fast or how far I could run. The joy was in the act of running and in the journey, not in the destination.”

John Bingham

You learn more from failure than from success. Do not let it stop you. Failure builds you to become a more proficient runner. If you did not achieve your goal, treat it as a learning opportunity rather than a waste of your time and effort. 

When pieces of the puzzle do not align perfectly, professional athletes examine what went off tracks, pinpoint if there were missing something in their training schedule and redirect their attention to the next performance day. Treating a less-than-stunning performance in this manner will assist you in getting back on track faster and building the foundation on which more successes will land.

Truth be told, it is impossible to define success in running based solely on figures on your running watch. It disrespects everything else that goes into the sport. No matter the result of any one race, it pays to have a perspective to keep yourself mindful of how much you have given to reaching this far. Possessing this view allows you to move on from setbacks and prime yourself for success at your next attempt.

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