Friday, June 24, 2011

EricG's Running Tips #22 Focus

I am often asked how I run such long distances.  I always wish I had a short answer, and until now, I didn't.  After all there is so much that goes into it.  Training is endless, there is nutrition, hydration, gear, support, physical issues, mental issues (lots of mental issues) and so on.

Last week I had the pleasure of running with Phil McCarthy who recently covered 257 miles in just 48 hours, a new American record.  Prior to our run we were having a conversation with a few other runners in the parking lot.  Of course the record came up and even though these people were accomplished runners in their own rights, including sub 3hr marathons they were in awe of Phil's accomplishment (aren't we all?).  They asked him the same question I hear all the time, "How do you do it?" and his reply was perfect.  Phil held his hands up on either side of his eyes and simply said, "You just focus".

He said in 3 words what could take me an hour to explain.  In the end, we all have our own little details about how we get to where we get and why we do it.  What it all boils down to truly is focus.  I know Phil was answering this question specifically as it related to his record setting run but it's true all the way through.  From the moment we choose to do something until the moment we actually succeed we must focus.

There are many things that will come up along the way and try to knock us down.  The ability to commit and focus all the way through our goals is that little something extra.  It is often the difference between success and DNF.  Marshall Ulrich spoke of his extreme foot pain during his run across America and how the pain got so bad there was no way he could continue with that foot.  For a man as tough as Marshall that must have been excruciating.  So what did he do?  He disowned his foot.  I love that, he actually had the mental focus to be able to tell himself that the foot attached to his leg was not his.  Extreme for most of us?  Perhaps but it certainly proves the point.  Focus, concentration or commitment, call it what you want.  Master or at least improve your ability to control your mind and you can accomplish more than you ever imagined.  I for one am going to pay more attention to my focus.

What ever it is you want to do, focus and go get it.


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