5 ways to remain a mediocre runner

Mediocre: ordinary or moderate quality; neither good nor bad; barely adequate:

As runners we all strive for the next level on race day.  Those who have achieved levels above average all have something in common.  Those who remain mediocre also have things in common.  If you are happy with mediocre performances, here are 5 ways you can continue to keep your name in the bottom half of the results page.


  • Believe you can only be this good, and refuse to believe in yourself:

I find it a bit amusing that as a generation we teach our children that they can be anything they want to be, that their boundaries are endless, they have infinite power to change the world, and then go about our own lives proving to them we are wrong.  If you believe, “I can only be this good, I have reached my potential”  congratulations, you have probably reached your goal of becoming mediocre.

  • Blame everything else for your shortcomings:

My hours at work are too long, I don’t have time.  I’m too fat to run.  My knee hurts.  This weather sucks, it’s too cold.  I’m too tired for this work-out.  My shoes are wet.  My friend can’t run with me today.  If you use any, or all, of these excuses for not running on a regular basis, congratulations you are well on your way to staying average.

  • Be unwilling to learn:

One thing I have learned in life is, anyone who professes to know everything, about any given subject, or labels himself an expert, is probably not.  Any real expert will easily profess that their subject matter is endless, it has no boundaries, and they are continually searching and learning.  If you are touting yourself as being an expert in running, congratulations on your becoming a mediocre expert.

  • When you fail, just give up:

Anyone who tries, fails.  Imagine Michael Phelps first day at the pool, or Roger Federer as a young boy on the tennis courts.  These two young men could have easily become video game dweebs if they had swelled on failure.  They soon learned that conquering and mastering their particular art was in the trying, again and again, in a different manner until they reached success.  You must do the same to raise yourself to that level.  If you fall down three times and you only get up twice your progress has halted, and we can now find you on the last page of the results.

  • Stay in your comfort zone:

Any serious runner will tell you, “running hurts, if it doesn’t you’re not doing it right”.  You should have at least one day a week of training that pushes your comfort zone to pain, not pain from injury but the pain that comes  from going past your limits, the type of pain that drives weakness from the body.  Without that work-out you are doomed to mediocre.

I once had an athlete Ryan, who continually schloged around with the slowest runners during practice sessions.  Ryan believed that running with this group was his potential.  After a short discussion with me about his potential and my expectations, I made him run his daily work-out with the fastest milers on the team.  For one week he was not happy, but by forcing him out of his comfort zone, I helped him begin believing in himself.  His physical abilities had not changed, but his changed attitude moved him on to eventually become a 1:56 / 800 meter runner.  If you want to go out and stay comfortable in your 12 minute mile work-outs and you are happy there, awesome.  If you want to move beyond mediocre, it’s going to take some work, and you will have push that comfort zone past it’s current limits.

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