Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Confidence Trick

You look on the past with gratitude, you look on the present with enthusiasm, and you should try to look on the future with confidence.

- Jack Kyle (Irish rugby legend)
Confidence is an interesting concept. In sporting terms, teams gain it, build it and cultivate it to gain momentum. Once you start to believe in yourself, subtle changes occur - instead of "hoping to win" you "expect to win". Luck seems to follow you and little things start going your way. The win becomes a streak and the thing just snowballs.

And all it takes is one trigger point, something that makes everything else click into place.

My running is very similar - I do so much better when I'm confident in my form and training. A few good runs strung together make all the difference - it's like I get on a roll and go into races expecting to run well. Training runs become questions of "how far can I push myself" instead of "I wonder how long I can keep this going" - a subtle difference to be sure, but it's a big one.

I'm hoping that Little Rock was my trigger point.

It's strange, but I had a few good training runs in the build-up to it after many months of plodding mediocrity. And those runs gave me that little nudge that I could put in a good performance.

And getting a good time in that race made a huge difference. It made me realize that I really do know what I'm doing. When I decided to drop a few pounds (holding steady at 153lbs), pull back the mileage and do lots of weights and aerobic exercise instead, it was with the express purpose of toning muscle to go faster for longer, and that will stand me in good stead when I ramp the miles back up again in preparation for next winter's ultra races.

Because I know I can run 100 miles. I just want to run it faster than I did before.

And I'm confident I can.

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