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Learning from Disappointment

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I took part in the Great North Run on the 16th September. Third year in a row.

I have been running for 2 years now, and have run the same races each year with a view to getting a better time.

Course by course, I have managed it - I have always got a quicker time, the 2nd time of running.

However this was the first time that I did not go faster. Okay it was only marginally slower, 1.5mins, but I was still disappointed.

But then I started to look at it in two ways.

First of all, I looked at the positives. This is what I came up with....

-          I finished! Now that might seem strange, but I really did struggle for most of the way round. (For those that are runners, my heart rate was way too high for the majority of the race >180!). A few times (even as early as mile 3) I thought I may have to stop, so actually, how well did I do to keep going?!

-          I hadn’t trained as much as I did last year, so 1.5mins is not bad and is really pretty small over 13 miles!

-          I did it. I was responsible for doing it. It was my body and my mind.

And then I started to look at what I could learn from it:-

Don’t assume past performance will predict the future. 

Just because I ran faster for all my other races, didn’t mean it was going to happen here.   

Have a firm, clear strategy / plan.

On reflection, and considering how I planned for my other races, I actually just seemed to start running without a clear plan of timing and pacing, In fact, I went off too quickly, didn’t have a plan, and suffered later on!

Don’t procrastinate – do it whether you feel like it or not!

Training was hit and miss. I procrastinated, put it off, had “other things to do”.  Anything is indeed possible with training, but you have to do it!

Preparation is key – details!

Did I drink enough fluids, did I eat properly? Did I get enough sleep the week of the race. The fact that I was on my feet standing around the day before, did that have an impact? I didn’t plan the finer details – I missed a drinks station because I hadn’t made a point of remembering where they were!

The Goal may not have been compelling enough!

Maybe, my reasons for doing the GNR this year were not compelling enough for me personally, which led to some of the things happening above. “Going faster” was not strong enough, not a specific enough target. After 3 years, maybe I should be looking for a new challenge, a new race, a new goal.

Mmmmm. Some of these may sound familiar, they can be applied to work, life and sport!

Had a disappointment ? Could there be some positives to take away from it, some things that you can learn?

At Elrah, we help individuals achieve their goals, become more confident and develop. What would happen if we did the same for you? Take a look at our Personal Coaching section or Contact us to find out!

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Published on 25/09/2012 by Emma Harle.

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