Within their recommendations, Coach Rea and the athletes often also allude to the athlete mindset also requiring a level of acceptance. That goals might not be reached. That dedication should not reach a point of unhealthy obsession. And that rings true no matter how big your goals are. Just ask Andrew Colley:
“My goals for 2020 are to win the U.S. Marathon Olympic Trials, stay healthy, continue my pursuit for the flowstate, and be in the best shape of my life thus far for the Olympic Games and mix it up with the big dogs from around the world.”
See, no-one would accuse Andrew of a lack of clear goals or ambition. So how will he make sure he’s mentally strong enough to put the right preparation in place and deliver when it counts?
“I tend to think of myself as a mental animal, so I'm going to try and embrace that side of myself and take down some of the big dogs.” Andrew says. I am going to take each day as it comes and make sure to stay present in what I'm doing.
“You know, I love running and getting to go out on a run with my friends and workout hard is a blast. As long as I remember that, I think the goals will take care of themselves.”
Andrew also alludes to the importance of a surrounding yourselves with the right people. Those who will hold you accountable to the goals you’ve set but play a supportive role on your journey to get there. This is at the core of the On ZAP Team philosophy. After all, that’s why these come together to train in the North Carolina woods.
“I've been fortunate to have a giant running family that has accumulated over the years as my support team as I pursue these goals.” Andrew said.
“I remind myself frequently how much those people believe in me and that I need to do right by my family as well.”
Andrew Colley’s favorite shoe: The Cloudflow
I have always been striving to reach optimum flow and achieve FlowBot status, so when I heard On had a shoe called the Cloudflow I was immediately obsessed. When I put it on my foot, I melted with flowy goodness.
Your 6 Key Takeaways: The Marathon Mindset #1 Focus
1. Set clear goals
Goals are the foundation of the athlete mindset. Having clear goals ensures you are focusing your time on what matters. Having a clear training plan, for example, avoids wasting mental energy deliberating about next steps and if you’ve done enough. It is the discipline of sticking to those goals that defines the athlete mindset.
2. Break big goals down into sub-goals
Help yourself achieve you big goals by breaking them down into smaller, more immediately reachable targets. This keeps motivation high at times when fatigue or even bad weather become barriers that make the larger goals seem out of reach.
3. Add tiers to your goals
Accepting that goals are not always reached is an important part of the athlete mindset and maintaining a healthy approach to training. Coach Rea’s strategy of classing goals as A, B, and C is helpful, and rewards the fact that you turned up and put in the work, which is where the battle is really won.
In practice, this could be setting out for a 10K tempo run and saying, ok, I don’t feel so up for it, but I aim for a 40 minute 10K today, if I hit sub 45 that’s still a B in the books and anything above that is a C. At the end, you still have 10K on the log, when you could easily have said, I won’t hit that today, there’s no point showing up.
4. Remember why you started the journey.
This is a key tenet of Coach Rea’s philosophy: “Train each day with the same childlike joy you had when you started the sport – we preach relentlessly the important of passion, joy and fortuitousness in training.”
5. Keep Perspective
Focusing on the bigger picture, what truly matters, can be a big help when you don’t meet your goals. Your health, your family, your friends, there are many things more important that a new P.R. Start a journal and remind yourself every day of the progress you’ve made and things you’re thankful for. This can help alleviate pressures that could negatively affect performance.
6. Find your team
Surrounding yourself with others on the same journey keeps you accountable, can add healthy competition and get you out the door on the times when a Netflix marathon seems much more appealing than training for the real thing. And having the right people around, whether runners or not, will always be a big help when it comes to staying motivated and receiving the support you need when things go off plan, or setbacks happen. Which they invariably will. And that’s ok, as we see in our next article about perseverance.