NIKE + RUN CLUB PROVIDES ADVICE FROM A NAVY SEAL COMMANDER on mental conditioning. This very short piece has easy to remember tips on how to get your mind to help your body accomplish racing as well as training goals. There’s a component to mental rigor that this advisor doesn’t talk about, or perhaps includes as part of goal setting: COMMITMENT! I have had the same or very similar goals for decades, but I only started to accomplish some of them when I made a commitment to do so. The US Marine Corps, another mentally tough group, identifies it's guiding values as honor, courage, and commitment.
What’s the meaning of the word “commitment”? There are several online dictionary definitions that are similar, roughly stated as: a promise to give yourself, your money, time, and energy to something you believe in…
I like an URBAN Dictionary version by “Ashbash January 13, 2005”; not being an English major I cannot judge whether it’s grammatically or “poetically” correct (bolding has been added by me):
“Commitment is what
Transforms the promise into reality
And the actions which speak
Louder than the words.
It is making the time
When there is none.
Coming through time
After time after time,
Year after year after year.
Commitment is the stuff
Character is made of;
The power to change
The face of things.
It is the daily triumph
Of integrity over skepticism.”
Commitments, like goals (finishing a long distance race, setting a personal record, etc) should be BROKEN DOWN into small reasonable incremental components.
Here’s an example of a commitment “breakdown”:
BIG GOAL: Run a half marathon
BIG COMMITMENT: Getting your training plan workout in, everyday, without fail
Breakdown = committing to do it each day, just ONE WEEK at a time by:
- Setting the exact time on your schedule each workout will be performed
--- changing to a longer 3 runs/week plan rather than 4 runs/week if there's a time crunch
then finding a later race or running an EarnedRuns bib race on day of your choice
- Locating appropriate venues, checking weather forecast for each day/week
--- using an indoor facility/covered venue instead of outdoors as needed
- Not cancelling for another unexpected activity but re-scheduling same day
--- choosing to working out before the new event if later will be problematic
- Preparing each week/night for appropriate clothes, shoes, food, fluids
--- shop, make food, wash clothes ; wear dirty clothes if needed
- Making plan changes if you find you’re skipping certain days
--- in time of day for specific workouts; all needn’t be at the same time
--- in grooming expectations if your post-workout appearance is an issue
(accepting less than perfect hair sometimes; it’s perfectly acceptable on an athlete)
As "Ashbash" says; commitment mean taking actions (planning) that speak louder than words to transform the promise (your goal) into reality. It is the power of self you harness to change the face of things (your ability to compete). It is the daily triumph (of completing each workout).
Getting back to the NAVY SEAL (who is unnamed in the article); this person has another piece of advice: “Just remember, when your body starts telling you that you're done, you're probably only about 40 percent of the way there. If the most powerful part of your body, your brain, hasn't kicked in yet, then you have so much more left in your tank than you realize.”
This may also apply to COMMITMENT. Do we start to mentally give up after giving a 40% effort to make each workout a reality? Do we have more left in the tank?
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EARNED RUNS is edited and authored by me, runner and founder. In 1978 I began participating in 10K road races before 5Ks were common. I've been a dietitian, practiced and taught clinical pathology, and been involved with research that utilized pathology. I am fascinated with understanding the origins of disease as well as health and longevity.
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