Whether your eight or eighty, as an endurance athlete, you strive to be the best you can be. Endurance athletes come from all walks of life, with all sorts of physical challenges that make them people who want to train and compete with other like minded individuals. They may want to win their age group or even the whole race but for most, including me, it’s about the journey and simply finishing.
Training, racing and recovering are all part of the journey that never ends. Once one race is done, it’s time to recover and start training for the next race. In order to do this day after day, year after year, the endurance athlete prescribes to the following creed:
Seek Out Challenges That Pushes My Limits: It’s no mystery that endurance athletics is hard and that’s why it’s a good place to learn to push your limits. Physically training yourself is the easy part. Most of the challenge is mental. Those metal limits are the ones that need pushing.
Will Try Anything, At Least Once: Exploring oneself means trying new things. Like barefoot running or maybe the World’s Toughest Mudder. All of these new adventures tap into your creativity and get you to think differently about your body and capabilities.
Focus on the Incremental Gains: You can’t run a marathon on day one — you have to build up to it. That’s why small, incremental gains are so important. Those little wins motivate you to keep going for the big win.
I Will Not Compromise: If you compromise on your health, training or nutrition, your performance will not be optimal. That’s why it’s important to not compromise on your training or your principals — doing so will just be cheating yourself.
It’s Me, Against Me: Most of us will not be world class athletes and that’s fine. All endurance athletes know that deep down, it’s us against ourselves. You are your own worst enemy. By embracing this, you conquer your fears, anxieties and limitations.
Failure is Always An Option: Some days, it’s just not your day. You may cramp at mile 5 and just can’t shake it. Or maybe you have the flu and racing today is not going to happen — even after training for months and months. No matter the challenge, endurance athletes realize that they might fail and that’s fine. Failure is temporary as long as you get up and try again.
Pain is Just Weakness Leaving the Body: Pain can be a wonderful thing. Not that endurance athletes are masochistic (okay, maybe a little) but pain is a sign of pushing through your weaknesses and obtaining that next level of performance. Sure, bone breaking type pain needs to be taken seriously but I’m not talking about that. I’m talking about sore muscles, blisters, cramps and exhaustion.
I Will Finish: Even though failure is an option, finishing is a strong motivator. Most endurance athletes will endure a tremendous amount to finish (no one wants a DNF after their name). Finishing feels great even if it took you twice as long.
I’m Never Alone, Even When Alone: Endurance events can be lonely endeavors. Most of the time, an endurance athlete is in their own head, coaching themselves to continue on. The great thing about events is that strangers cheer you on. This is a great motivator and a reminder that it’s not just you that benefits from participating — it’s everyone.
I Will Help Others Through Adversity: One of the kindest jesters I ever witnessed was a fellow runner helping a fallen runner get up and continue on. The guy actually wiped the dirt and blood off the guys knees with his own shirt. It was an amazing sight. Most endurance athletes help each other. It’s just engrained in the culture. From giving someone a tire tube to sharing a energy bar, all endurance athletes understand the struggle and want to get everyone past the finish line, even if they don’t do a Personal Record (PR).
The More You Sweat in Training, The Easier it is to Race Practice makes perfect and the more you train, the better you will become. If you don’t prepare for the race, then the race will be miserable. All that hard work in training is solely meant to pay off on race day. You can’t skimp on that.
This creed drives an endurance athlete to train everyday and show up on race day. To train everyday takes a deep commitment that has to be as much inwardly focused as outwardly focused. That commitment makes the expedition into ourselves the journey that never ends.