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“When you trust yourself you can make it.” Geoffrey Mutai
What was once impossible is now possible. History has shown that to be true over and over again. The imagination sparks new ideas. Grab hold of an idea then continue to believe it is possible. Gradually the steps to achieve a goal begin to appear.
The most successful athletes are innovative, highly creative individuals. When they grasp onto an idea, they stick with it taking the necessary steps to make it happen. Tenacity is a virtue.
Self efficacy is a person’s belief in his abilities. It is the root of self-esteem, determining how athletes think, behave and feel. Champion athletes embrace a strong sense of self-efficacy which influence their approach to goals, tasks and challenges. These qualities create a perfect storm, setting athletes up to break records.
Roger Bannister did something most people believed was humanly impossible when he broke the 4-minute mile. Fast forward to the present and the stage is being set for another running record, running a sub 2 hour marathon. It will be done, but when?
Currently Geoffrey Mutai from Kenya holds the unofficial current record of 2:03:02 during this year’s Boston Marathon.
Ryan Hall, age 28 from the U.S., is planning to break his current record for a new U.S. time. He put his hat in the ring for the Chicago Marathon. Hall is departing from traditional thought among runners preparing for the Olympic Marathon Trials scheduled for January 2012.
When runners are going full out, beyond what they have trained for, there is a chance of “hitting the wall.” Due to the enormous physical strain, sometimes your body just can’t give you anymore. It’s energy has become depleted.
The mind is a powerful thing. It has the ability to overcome physical exhaustion. Studies show pain thresholds are an individual thing. A runner’s mindset has the potential to overcome physical limitations. Focusing on the pain stops runner’s in their tracks, causing them to give up.
Hall is seeking running nirvana, performing in the zone. Although it was unofficial, his time in the Boston Marathon has changed his mindset of what he believes to be possible. A significant factor.
“You know what, it’s funny,” Hall mused. “Now that I’ve run 2:04 at Boston, even though that’s not a certified record, I think of myself as a 2:04 marathoner. That’s a big purpose of coming to the Chicago Marathon, is to run fast… to be part of a historic race.”
Hall, fortunately, understands what it takes to be a winner. Understanding how to access the zone at will is critical for consistent results.
1. Confidence in yourself – Hall’s perception changed with his new time in Boston. Now he views himself as a 2:04 marathoner. His breakthrough time sets the stage for Chicago. Hall has proof that he is capable of running a difficult race, maintaining his pace.
2. Focus on the end result – The goal is in the forefront of his mind. Hall is dedicated to setting a new U.S. record. Kenyan runners continue to set the world records. He wants to prove Americans are still in the race.
3. Enjoying the process – Enjoying the race contributes to breakthrough performance. Although he dedicates all his energy to training, Hall loves to run. The challenge keeps pushing him to excel. Satisfaction from reaching milestones is important to keep going even when your body is screaming at you to stop.
4. Remaining calm, no matter what – Is all about keeping calm regardless of the circumstances. Marathons stress out your body. Fighting inner critical thoughts is energy draining. Experience leads to understanding what to expect. Maintaining clarity, understanding what is within your control and maintaining positive thoughts are critical for peak performance. By staying calm athletes learn to tap into reservoirs of energy.
5. Excitement about what is possible – The pursuit of excellence is exciting. Hall feels exhilaration for reaching a new time milestone. Hall anticipates setting a new American record on October 9th in Chicago.
Don’t misunderstand being in the zone as passive. It is anything but passive. Approaching the zone, with the intent on peak performance, requires relaxed-aggression. This state requires a calm, clear mind along with performing with authority and conviction. Performing in this state requires practice.
The pieces are coming together for the October Chicago Marathon. Hall has experienced the wall. He knows how to move through it. Running marathons requires physical and mental endurance. Winners train their mindset as well as their bodies. Belief in potential is powerful.
Hall is self-coached. Unlike most runners preparing for the Olympic Trials, he does not believe the Chicago Marathon will interfere with his race preparation. In fact, he is convinced this race will set him up for his Olympic training regimen. This race has two draws for Hall. He plans to test a new strategy; occasional surges while conserving energy to plan for a home-stretch push. This run is to honor Sammy Wanjiru, two-time Chicago Marathon champion, who died earlier this year.
Hall is pledging all his winnings to the STEPS Foundation, his charity. All proceeds are ear-marked for anti-poverty programs in Kenya. These personal motivators give him an edge to reach his goals.
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