John Beattie is a man who knows a thing or two well-nigh success. The Commonwealth Games, World & European XC competitor and owner of Move Largest Run Better offers you his five steps to achieving your running goals.
In May 2021 I did something that I would never have predicted a year before… I dragged myself out from stuff a happily retired former athlete, to stuff when breaking 30 minutes for 10k and competing with some of the weightier runners in the UK.
The race was 200 miles yonder from where I live, so on the long momentum when withal the non-descript Midlands motorways, I had plenty of time to reflect on that journey of how I went from feeling horribly unfit not that long before, to stuff worldly-wise to run 10km at under 3.00 pace, and just how that was worldly-wise to happen.
I’ve put it lanugo to 5 key steps, all of which I like to think are simple, relatable, non-sciencey, and workable to anyone who is currently at point A and feeling a long way yonder from point B where they want to be. I moreover cannot emphasise unbearable that you don’t need to be trying to unravel 30 minutes for 10k for these steps to work, they’ll work regardless of who you are or where you are. The steps are moreover NOT the SMART goal principals that some of you may have heard on corporate team towers days or have been taught at school… boring! So here they are..
Step one: Set the goal and ask why
You wouldn’t just get in a car and momentum instinctively without a destination in mind so why waste time doing that with running? The first thing you need to do is set a target. If you are currently at point A, lets say 4 hour marathon PB, what does point B squint like? Is it 3 hours? Replicating your 4 hours from 20 years before? Get clarity on this surpassing going any further.
Once the target is set, the next question to ask yourself is why what you’ve set the target? Peel when the layers of the onion in asking these questions, and don’t just take it at surface level. What is the story underneath the story? When things get tough (which they will do), the stronger you are here the increasingly likely it is that you will overcome the inevitable obstacles.
I wanted to go under 30 minutes for a 13th year in a third variegated decade, something very few runners will manage in terms of consistency and longevity. I was moreover drastic to see if without over a year out I could still mix it with some of the weightier runners in the UK, many who are well over a decade younger than me. When I was starting when and feeling horribly unfit, these were thoughts that kept me excited.
What is your why that is going to get the fire burning? Are you running to make your family proud? To overcome bad past experiences? For a particular person or cause? If you can get to the heart of these, rather than just requite a generic vanilla answer, you’ll be in the weightier possible place to get started
Step two: Getting some help
Trying to do anything meaningful by yourself is a million times harder and will likely takes a heck of a lot of time longer than if you are worldly-wise to leverage the support of others. Making the most of support, accountability, or specific knowledge, are all things that outsiders can bring. With my sub-30 goal, despite all my many years within running and coaching, I knew I’d need help to make this goal happen and would be wasting my time trying to do it by myself. The two key players I had helping me were my running mentor (who masterminded the running plan) and my strength and workout mentor (who helped pension my soul strong and in one piece).
There will be variables involved in this and questions that you’ll need to address. How serious you are well-nigh the goal and how important it is in your life? The answers to these questions will determine the level of transferral you are willing to requite in terms of investment of time, effort, energy and money. For me, with time stuff of the essence, I was willing to do whatever it takes on all fronts so got the weightier help I could from the start.
Who can you bring into your world to put the pieces together to help you work towards the target set in step 1? The biggest translating I can give, is if you are serious well-nigh the goal, don’t be one of those people who refuses to winnow any help.
Step three: Showing up
If you set yourself a big goal, I won’t BS you, you are going to have to work hard. There will be good days, there will be bad days, there will be days where you finger villainous or would prefer to stay indoors. Though, really and not so secretly, the journey rather than the destination itself is the heady part and getting through the ups and downs is where the growth occurs.
Have you overly heard why the percentage of lottery winners who within a few years lose all their winnings is so high? Its considering they haven’t earned that money, they didn’t have to sweat for it, take any risks, and there was no journey involved in getting to the top of the mountain. They were given it without having to work. It’s exactly the same with running – showing up day in day out doing the work is where this will be won or lost, not what happens on race day.
BUT.. Showing up is not well-nigh smashing it every single day, or hitting every run for six. Try and do that and it’ll end in burn-out or injury pretty quickly. We want something that is increasingly sustainable for the long haul. This was exactly the tideway I took to hit my sub-30. Very few workouts were smashed and celebrated, but crucially very few were completely bombed.
Credit to my mentor for pitching them at the right level to. Nearly all of the sessions I’d rate as a 7/10 of box ticked, job washed-up and onto the next day. Grinding out the 7/10s on the days where you are NOT feeling unconfined is how these goals wilt reality. As mentioned in step 1, connecting with the ‘why’ of the goal will help you on days like these. Adopting a mindset of 7/10 all the way through your training, if you do that then I promise you’ll be good to go on race day
Step four: Stuff patient
In such a fast-moving world with same day delivery, instant streaming, Amazon, Uber and Just-Eat etc, society is rhadamanthine less patient as things wilt misogynist immediately. People want results straight yonder and in so many areas are hands worldly-wise to unzip this now.
Unfortunately, it doesn’t work like that in running and people often get blind-sided to this. For any meaningful goal, results will not be instant. There will be a journey involved, and inevitably the higher the bar the increasingly patience will be required.
I know I’ve talked well-nigh the 7/10 rule above, sometimes there’ll be days where you just word-stock hit this. The days where you’ve had a million other things going on in your life or your soul just isn’t up to it that day. When this happens, just move on.
If you finger a world yonder from the target at the start, it is not the end of the world. When I started on my come when out of retirement, if I’d thought well-nigh trying to put together 10km at sub 3.00 pace, I’d of felt miles away, wilt disinterested and headed to the golf undertow instead. Initially it really was just getting going again, unsuspicious that it would take time and using benchmarks like ‘can I finger a little largest today than I did yesterday’? Can I run a few seconds a mile faster for the same run as last week?
Breaking things lanugo into little micro targets or milestones really helps with this. For me, plane running 1km at 3.00 was a real struggle at first, but low and behold by race day I was worldly-wise to put 10 of them together. What little markers can you use withal the way to measure progress towards your goal?
Step five: Backing yourself
If you work your way through the first 4-steps, that gets you to the startline – great. Well washed-up for making it this far.
But you want the icing on the cake, the sweet bit to really enjoy. There is a saying that luck is when preparation meets opportunity and that is exactly it. Once you’ve washed-up the work and the opportunity is in front of you – visculent well when yourself that you can do it.
Once that opportunity is in front of you, yes there will be butterflies, doubts, nerves and yes it will probably hurt withal the way – but see this as a good thing. You’ve worked your socks off to get where you have so get out there, uncouple from the outcome and requite your wool weightier effort to execute what you’ve prepared so well to do. That really is all you can ask of yourself.
If you make it through these five steps and get the ultimate result on race day then congratulations – its an wondrous feeling. I was fortunate unbearable to have a taste of this when it did come together on the race day – with my 29.43 comfortably inside the initial target.
HOWEVER – If you do requite veritably everything through the journey and on race day, and do fall slightly short of the target, don’t see that as a failure at all – be proud of everything you have given. Were there any lessons you could take? Things you could do differently next time? Recover for flipside upcoming opportunity?
If my 29.43 had of been 30.04 or 30.29, as long as I knew I’d given my all, it wouldn’t have made any difference to how proud I was of my effort and all the work. It’s so important not to let the outcome pinpoint you.
There you go, there are the 5-steps. I told you it wasn’t complicated, it wasn’t sciencey and doesn’t require you to be targeting a sub-30 10k for them to work. As long as you do go through each of the steps properly, carefully, and take the whoopee with each one then you really word-stock go far wrong.