Do you know why I am an expert at running? No, not because I am a certified endurance coach, no not because I have various degrees and certificates.
I am an expert on running because I am the creator of my run history. Successful multi day run events, unsuccessful runs, short distance with good decisions, long runs with bad decisions.
Hi, my name is Heiko, and thanks for joining me at Advance Endurance Coaching, where we specialize in building resilience mental tools to ensure you become a better, stronger, healthier runner.
Especially for those runners’ over 40, where the best running is yet to come, if you work at it.
Today I will use a lot of material from people much smarter than me. From business leaders, to industry experts, I will quote and use their material adapted to our great sport of running. So, if some of this sounds familiar, good, it means you know about these tools, perhaps just haven’t seen them in this context.
Now, back to being an expert. Yes, why do I call myself an expert? Because every single decision related to my running.. I was involved. My win, or my fault, or my bad decision.
I have convinced myself I am healthy and went running, and I wasn’t.
I told myself a short jog won’t do any harm rather than cure out a nagging injury.
I am the main person involved in all of my decisions. I am the mastermind, the brainchild behind my biggest regrets.
I have talked myself into risky situations, I have pushed myself into getting a DNF, I have convinced myself I am fit and ready for this trail event, I have fallen for gadgets, and new equipment even though I didn’t really need it. Customers who have bought this, also you know what I am talking about.
Every runner who follows any training plan for Comrades marathon, or who reads up on it, if for example you want to complete a powerful Comrades, do a slow Two Oceans, see it as a training run. Don’t go for a PB or get carried away.
Oh for those of you that don’t know what the Comrades or Two oceans is. Please head over to my YouTube videos where I explain and describe these two iconic and most special South African Ultra marathons.
So back to the Two oceans.. remember if you want to run a strong Comrades, the Two oceans is a training run. OK What did I decide to do whilst running past Muizenberg? This current pace is too slow. Let’s go. What happened at Comrades a few weeks later, a suffering festival, and bad performance. Ha, and this is from me, the run expert, the certified coach. Look, that is one thing, here you get the truth, my successes and my failures. Sometimes the biggest lessons are learnt in such moments. Sometimes, most of the time.
So, we, even though we don’t know each other, have this in common. We both participate in our own worst decisions.
You in your worst decision, me in mine. High five !
Your worst running event, your worst decision whilst on a run, your worst decision whilst being injured. It was always you as the lead actor. Like when I ran an Ultra in the Alps, and had forgotten my insoles. Not special soles, just the normal layer that you take out when you wash them, and are supposed to be put back. Well, I forgot them, and decided to go run anyway. At 70K I pulled out with bloody blisters and couldn’t run for weeks thereafter. Why did I start? Why did I do that? Totally unnecessary.
It’s like you don’t want to admit it but as you register these words, and you produce these memories and images in your head, you can’t help thinking: you have your own story, you might be remembering it just now. Thinking: yes, that’s right.
And this is not a run issue. No, not a sports issue either. This is something different. It is a leadership issue. And it is an issue that we face every single day anew. You are a difficult person to lead. Because you fight with temptations every day.
Self-leadership is not the nicest of topics, because of the word SELF. It would be so much nicer to have a topic related to “other runners’” rather than something to do with oneself. Not that I need to convince you, you know this is true. Let me share with you three reasons as to why this is such an important point.
Especially if you have children, or you want to inspire others and this is not only related to running, obviously. Perhaps as a run or triathlon coach, you are leading others, and you know you will not succeed and be able to be authentic, if you don’t lead yourself well. If you really want to positively influence others, maybe even inspire them to participate in longer distances, or faster times.. You need to be an expert at self-leadership. You would not open yourself to someone you don’t respect, nor will others open up to you.
The biggest most powerful reason I find is that exceptional self-leadership is the key to sustained performance. Sustained performance for me means being dedicated to running since my childhood. It is something that I can and do do in one form or another every day. Be it by running, or thinking about the next run, resting, recuperating from a run, talking, writing , thinking about running.
Great runners’ or leaders last because they focus on themselves first. If you ever read one of the famous books by ultra-runners’ (I purposefully don’t want to mention any names as it might not do justice, but if you are interested in the runner’s brain and reading I am sure you will have read something similar).
There is a common theme I found in these great runners.
They don’t lie to themselves. They acknowledge what the situation is. They are very honest with themselves. Sounds logical. Really? It’s obvious? Well then how does this fit in? Nobody can convince you to run a distance, or stop, or speed up, or buy that new gadget as good as YOU can.
You don’t believe me? Maybe this sounds familiar. You have a slight niggle in your knee, but it’s a great day and this stretch of beach just looks so inviting. Or this trail you just heard about is just so tempting.
You start coming with all good reasons as to why you can should and want to go for this run, in spite of what your doctor or knee is telling you.
You sell yourself. You are the person in the mirror.
Honesty, brutal honesty is the key.
Great but how do you ensure you are honest with yourself? Here is the answer. Before you go on that run with a swollen knee, or before you are tempted to call a 9K run a 10K, or before you skip that hill repeat under some pretext. Before you skip the aid station, because you don’t want to lose your pace, or you find yourself racing a complete stranger (who doesn’t even know you exist) ask yourself: Why am I doing this?
Why am I doing this?
And then answer yourself, truthfully. Me, I can honestly say when I find myself racing a complete stranger “Heiko, you must be the stupidest runner in this race”. There, honest answer. And it makes me laugh at myself, and this instant, this microsecond of clarity is all I need to lead myself and to make a better decision.
Second point on becoming not only a better runner, but a better decision maker. Be aware of your long-term goal, rather than how you currently feel, and what you could achieve right now.
Leadership is about going in a direction to attain something. Exceptional runners’ lead themselves towards what they value, their long-term goal, rather than what they want or could achieve right now.
Overtaking that runner, yes, I want that third place age group win. Really? Well honestly speaking, no. I have a bigger goal and that goal is what I value more. It’s a bit like being hungry and you want to eat. But there is only fast food. Hmm, what do you do? Simple, you value your health. So, sacrifice what you want now to stay on course to what you want to reach, your long-term goal. Sounds so simple but it is a struggle: ultimate versus immediate. Your training plan says go for a long slow 10K, at 6:00 min/K pace and you are feeling great and run at a 5:30 pace, or do a 15K instead. Or suddenly you decide to get close to your 10K PB.
And you know this, what a setback like that does to your training plan. If the next day you feel the tiredness in your muscles. And now you are supposed to do a hill repeat workout. But you just cannot. The legs are too tired, so you skip the hill workout. And then you need to skip the following day as well, because it says fartlek training in your training plan. And slowly your training becomes unraveled, a series of long slow runs. What you want now is rarely what you value most.
For me, what I value most. Two things: being a healthy runner, and an easily satisfied runner. Now if this makes you laugh or think this leads to lack of ambition. Wrong, the motivation, the ambition, it’s there. But the slogans that would have stirred me up internally “give it your all ”, “winning is everything”, they don’t work for me anymore, as my priority is remaining healthy. And honestly speaking this has served me well over many years. Hardly ever have I been injured for long, except once for different issues. But my medical report is looking good, no horror stories of PFPS runners’ knees. Nope. Achilles tendon, nope. All good. Plantar Fasciitis Shin splints no issues there. So many runners’ that I meet outside a running environment, they will share with me their stories about how they used to run, but injury sidetracked them. Story is always the same: excessive mileage, over exertion, led to some or other injury, and this led them to give up on their running. And only now do they realize how important how much they valued this sport.
Now it sounds great standing here and talking about values. But it was a long journey there. Full of setbacks, ups and downs. But what always stayed with me is a lesson from a great book. I am sure you know Steven Covey’s The Seven Habits of Highly Effective people.
To those of you that don’t know it, no this is not a quick one two three step social media solution. This is one of those books that has such valuable content, I used it so often in my life.
In the book there is an exercise where you are asked to think about your eulogy. Means where someone is to read a piece that praises you.
Yes, I know to some of you that might seem over dramatic. If this thought turns you off, stay tuned. But that is because you are not holding yourself up to a high standard. Especially your running. And as a runner without ambition, well you end up leaving the sport eventually.
To those that think, isn’t that a bit far flung. Ha, do you really want to be known as that runner who jumped up and down the first-place podium? Think I am kidding? Here in my local city, the following village actually happened. We have a maximum of 14,000 habitants, and we have a local 6K fun run. Please note the word “fun”. It goes through the city, so sometimes you need to watch out as someone might cross the run course. There is a section where you need to cross a busy street, and it might be that the policemen cut it a bit fine by letting a car pass and you might have to slow down a bit. As I said, it’s a fun run, not an Olympic time trial. The winner, 3 years in a row and well done, always gets up and does a victory celebration that makes Usain Bolt appear the most humble sportsman ever. Is that really how he wants to be known? No, he never thought about it did he?
To all you parents out there that want to inspire your kids to one day share this passion of running, are you the best example of what you value or is your desire to turn them into little athletes overshadowing the long term goal that you would rather obtain. My goal is that my daughters one day run a marathon with me. And they have the build for it, and the running gene. But they will act on what I do not on what I say. A fine line, and this I can only keep if my priorities are clear.
And this is my definition of success.
I will not attempt to lead myself by myself. It’s easy to find people with common interests. But it makes so much sense finding people that share common values. Because exceptional self-leadership is how you are driven. If you have kids, that’s what you have been telling them all along.
”Your friends determine the direction and the quality of your life”. So why would you join a running club where the banter and the testosterone level are at a level where you don’t feel so comfortable. Why well because if you feel this underlying tension to perform, you feel you are getting pulled along and it was supposed to be a relaxing park run ha you are being influenced, and going after a quick win rather than what you want in the long term.
You will sign up for that marathon, because you are all going along, and you don’t want to be the one left out, even though your knee is hurting.
No, I am not talking about teenagers, these are stories from grown-ups, from adult runners, who are lacking self-leadership.
No more lying to myself, I want to achieve my long-term goals.
Or you tell them you forgot your in soles, and they tell you how we all have issues. (Which is true after all but is that the advice I would want to hear and give others?).
Time is going by anyway. Principle of the path. Direction determines where you end up, not your intention. So, whether you end up where you want to be, or where you suddenly find yourself that’s in your hands.
Every day you have a new chance to lead yourself. But you need to develop a routine to prepare your mind. To keep it aligned. This is where hypnorun comes in. Mental tools to give you that moment to reflect on whether that direction is still correct.
Every morning you have the opportunity to take charge and redetermine your values and whether you are on track. The person that has the most influence over you, is that same person you see every day in the mirror.
What does your man in the mirror tell you? What steps could you take to get you towards your values? To reach ultimate rather than immediate? How and when do you think about it? And just for a second imagine having a powerful session that is quick to use once you have followed the steps, and taken the time to learn it properly. A session whereby before or after your run, you further build that faith in yourself. You become more encouraging to yourself. You focus on supporting yourself, all in your mind. As this, those moments in time will give you your best performance as you are then able to draw all your strengths and resources as an athlete.
And if you are struggling readers into this, and you perhaps think “hmmm yes, maybe, perhaps there is some truth I all of this” but you are tempted to move on I urge you to give hypno run a try, and then once you have used and experienced it, then you decide, or perhaps, just give us a share and a like so others can find us or you find this later.
But best would be. I want to invite you to join us at heikostribl.com where we have developed a powerful online course that develops exactly what is described above: mental resilience, mental strength, helping you to further grow and develop your self-leadership, and becoming the best runner you can be.
#trust #priority #leading
My name is Heiko, thanks for joining me.
Take it easy.