The Power of Belief

Yesterday, I nailed my first hard workout totally on my own in months. No coaches telling me what to do, no training partner with me. Just what I had put down on my plan and then me, by myself, executing it.

I wasn’t sure it was going to happen. Actually, I was sure it wasn’t going to happen. I pretty much knew for a fact that somewhere between the tempo miles and the descending 800s I simply wasn’t going to make the times. I 100% convinced myself that the last two 800s would be impossible. I was just going to do the best I could, but there was no way. No way.

Yet, I did. I even ran faster than that. Instead of the 3:04 I was aiming for, I ran a 2:59. So there.

Partially, there was no way it was going to be as bad as I was expecting it to be, so that made it easy to succeed. But, that’s a fine line to walk. Because, if you talk yourself too much down a hole then it’s hard to climb out of it. If you think it’s going to be impossible, then you might just quit before even trying. But, if you think it’ll be easy, if you’re sure you’ll nail it, then it’s also impossible to meet those expectations and you might just quit when it’s harder than you thought.

Before I headed out, I saw Mario had tweeted this and I was thinking about it some while I was running (particularly because I was doing a Mario workout from this time last year):


And yes, that is true. There is no one right answer. But, man, there are a lot of really wrong answers.

If you’re not a moron (and there are some people who like, yeah, you are definitely doing it all wrong), then the fear isn’t that you’ll mess everything up on any one given day. If you have a general basic concept of training down, then the worry isn’t that you aren’t doing the exact right thing this minute. That’s not how things go wrong. Things go wrong in slow, small, creeping steps until you get to the end and don’t know if it all adds up anymore.

That’s what erodes belief.

I don’t know how you believe. It would be great to just go around believing, believing in the face of overwhelming evidence and doubt. Wouldn’t that be awesome? But, I don’t know if that would work out for me well either. If I believed beyond question I was going to nail that workout yesterday, then when I started gasping and struggling I would have wondered what was wrong with me. I would have questioned why it was so hard. I might have bailed and then I would have added that to the list of workouts I have not succeeded in completely. I needed a little doubt in order to cement my belief.

6 thoughts on “The Power of Belief

  1. “There is no one right answer. But, man, there are a lot of really wrong answers.”
    – Sounds like a philosophy for life. I think you are going to make it to my Facebook quote board.

    Very similar to a koan of mine from my early years – “You gotta believe.”

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