Yesterday I competed in the Great Manchester Run. Firstly I would like to congratulate not only all those that took part in the event raising hundreds of thousands of pounds for charities and good causes but the organisers and those people who gave their time to help make the event such a great occasion. I should imaging that the logistics involved in pedestrianizing, closing down a city centre and shepherding 40,000 people plus all of the spectators around is something that the organisers and authorities had been planning months in advance. Yesterday’s successful event is a testament to the organisers heeding the old saying ”to fail to prepare is to prepare to fail!ā€¯
My official time for completing the 10km was 41.37mins and although to many people this may be a good time I was really disappointed as I had set myself a goal of breaking the 40 minute barrier. A task that I failed and in reflection my failure was done to poor preparation on my behalf.
I would have to mention one gripe hear and this is something that if you have ever competed in one of these mass running events then I am sure you will know. The organisers do their best to categorize runners based on their predicted finish times. As this is something that is completely self assessed people sometimes either
a) give themselves unrealistic expected finish times or
b) give themselves a predicted finish time that means they move into a faster category then the one they should be in.
Now of course there is nothing wrong with having high expectations but the problem when people do this is that it impacts other competitors. At the beginning of any race it take a certain distance before the pack breaks up but there is nothing more infuriating than spending the first 5 minutes running in zig zags to try and break free of runners who quite frankly should not be there. Period. Gripe over!
Where did it all go wrong?
Having looked back at my race there are 3 things that went wrong for me.
Lack of preparation
I used to really enjoy running. These days I am not as keen. The reason for this is that if I run and train properly then I lose weight. Now this may seem strange as I am sure there are many people out there that run specifically for that reason but I don’t want to lose weight and if I train at high intensity 3 times a week then I lose weight. So I play 5 a-side football for 45 minutes once a week and train with weights 3 times a week and that provides me all the exercise that I need to maintain a stable and healthy weight.
The problem is in order to hit my goal of 40 minutes in the run it would require for me to focus on that task and I didn’t. I simply, naively felt that I could knock off what amounts to 9.8 seconds a kilometre without training, without adequate preparation. Well the proof is in the result and that highlights a lesson that I was taught many years ago “to fail to prepare is to prepare to fail!ā€¯
Allowing other people to run my race.
At this point I need to make it clear that I don’t feel that the runners who elevated themselves to higher wave to improve their time cost me my goal. They didn’t. What I am saying is that due to the effect this had on my I allowed this to enter my mind and it completely distracted me from what I was there to do. I was there to run “my”race not have somebody else dictate my race to me. There would have been many people yesterday who suffered the same circumstances as me but it was how they reacted to the situation mentally. I chose to let this effect me using/wasting energy on thinking about other people. What I should have done was focus my energies on my goal, my reason for running the race not about anybody else.
This reminded me of a Tweet that I sent out on Saturday
Click here to follow me on Twitter.
As a result of the lack of focus my mind started wavering to other matters and when I hit 7km at about 30seconds behind the split time I needed. I didn’t say well all I need to do is shave 10 seconds a kilometre off the next 3 kilometres I accepted that I could not do it, I convinced myself I was too tired to make that little push that I needed to take myself over the edge. Yes I had a stitch, yes I was knackered, yes I felt as if my feet were on fire but all I had to do was stay focused and think back to my training program and tell myself that I was good, that I could shave off 10 seconds and that I was going to hit my time regardless of any ailments. And therein lay the problem I had not trained, I lost focus and I had accepted failure. To fail to prepare is to prepare to fail!
So in conclusion whatever you chose to do, you need to prepare for the exact circumstance, you need to focus solely on that goal and not get distracted and when you hit that wall you need to power through by telling yourself that you are ready, your training has prepared you for this eventuality and that you will achieve your goal.
To Fail to Prepare is To Prepare to Fail!