Maintaining Your Edge

It is good to have an end to journey toward; but it is the journey that matters, in the end.”
― Ernest HemingwayHemingway

Goals worth pursuing often seem daunting. Take a degree or an apprenticeship for example. Focusing on the diploma or certification can make a goal appear unreachable. It’s more productive to focus on short-term objectives, incremental improvements, and maintaining your edge. When your concentration shifts from earning a degree to studying, assignments, and exams you will see and feel progress, which results in a sense of accomplishment. This is an effective strategy that works for any goal requiring endurance, from playing an instrument to running an ultra-marathon.

A friend recently asked how my training was coming along for the ultra-marathon. Hmmm, I knew there was something I’d forgotten–the 50K (31 mile) race I registered for. Not a great feeling. But instead of freaking out and focusing on the distance, I considered my overall condition and experience.

I wouldn’t have been able to shift focus had I not kept myself in reasonably good condition and have years of experience–in other words, my edge–nor if I was starting from scratch. I ran a marathon in October and have taken a couple of three-hour runs since. My strategy for the marathon can’t be found in fitness magazines or running books. I stayed in a bubble the entire race–I didn’t look at clocks, did my best to avoid seeing any mile markers, and streamed a lot of really good music. I’m planning a similar strategy for the ultra.

When I was caught slacking on my training, I immediately went out for a three-and-a-half hour run. Time-driven training is something I picked up from a runner on West River Drive in Philly many years ago. He told me that instead of doing the highly touted twenty-mile training run for the marathon he did a three-hour run. I adopted the strategy after I ran the Boston Marathon. Free of qualifying goals and personal records, running became more fun.

So there you have it my friends. Regardless the goal you pursue, think long-term, concentrate on short-term, and revel in your progress. Be happy with what you achieve, every day.Forever Young

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About Jim Brennan

Jim is a Philadelphia-based writer, author, poet and editor for the Schuylkill Valley Journal.
This entry was posted in Health, Marathon, Running and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to Maintaining Your Edge

  1. LB says:

    You are so right about the increments. No matter the goal, short term accomplishments help us maintain focus and motivation.
    When is that ultra again? I’ve forgotten

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  2. insideoutfitnesshoodriver says:
  3. Julio says:

    I have to agree with you, a big goal is made out of several little success. The things that matter can hardly be accomplished from 0 to 100 and this is a good thing in my opinion. Life would be a very boring experience if we were able to jump from our desires to the outcome right away. Accomplishing your goal sure is a rewarding experience, but most of the time our growth as human beings happens on the way to our goals, not at the finish line.

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