Do you really want to run <insert your goal time here> in your next <insert event/distance here> ?
Or a better question would be, what is at stake if you don’t?
Because there will be a few occasions during training and race where we need to make decisions which will impact our result.
There will be days we need to head out to complete the planned training session in the pouring rain and howling winds. Times when we will have to excuse ourselves from late nights out to get up early to train. Times when we will have to say no to those social runs and fun races we would otherwise enter (and admittedly this is probably the hardest thing). Times when during the race we will have to endure the suffering a little longer.
We can talk ourselves out of something we want… because we don’t REALLY want it that much after all.
But when there are higher stakes, we remove the choice of having a choice.
No regrets or sense of missing out from life during training, no self-pity during race.
We gain sense of direction and purpose. We feel empowered, in charge of our destiny, that with every step, we open up the path to achieving our goals. And when in the hurt locker, we can be confident we have done the work with total dedication, and that our effort counts. We often find the extra gear. The extra strength needed to keep pushing and enduring.
Generally speaking, we all perform at our best when there is something bigger at stake.
It can be something personal like pride and self-confidence, to charity causes, to career defining performances. Anything we attribute great value to, has the power to motivate us, keep us on the right path and affect positively our performance.
I often think at extreme stakes, life/death situations or family members in trouble, and how that would make me perform and step up my game. Say I’m chased by a bear, that would certainly make me break my 5km, 10km and marathon PBs. I would just do it.
Thankfully, this doesn’t happen here in Australia, maybe we could be chased by a kangaroo or Emu which I’m sure would be equally exciting. My point being that everything else being equal, the higher stakes will get us to perform better, by a large margin, and we can try to tap into that .
I don’t think that all the races we do, should have high stakes; it’s neither fun, nor healthy nor sustainable.
It is a fine line.
But I think if we pick a running goal which feels important and we are truly committed to achieve it, raising the stakes will help us keeping accountable. And it can be as easy as taking the time to write down why a certain race/time is important, telling a friend, or just share it in a public FB post to the world if that’s your thing!
It’s time to step up the game!