Running is a unique sport. No matter who runs, where and how much, it remains a solitary pursuit, in which every runner ultimately competes against herself.
Kipchoge’s words have been immortalised, “I’ve done this to inspire other people and show the world nobody is limited.”
And how most of us interpret them is, if Kipchoge can get a PB…so can I.
Here is what I learned from the INEOS1:59 Challenge.
- Hard work: When asked about his training Kipchoge said, “I have been training for this for four-and-a-half months, putting my heart and mind to run a marathon under two hours and make history.”
Kipchoge wrote down a formula: Motivation + Discipline = Consistency
This is the key factor for any successful training plan. Talent alone can take you only this far! 16 weeks is exactly how long most marathon-specific plans, for us mortals, are.
- Environmental factors: These do affect race performance and training significantly. The venue and time were carefully chosen by organisers to provide the best-possible conditions – cool and windless.
Likewise, we need to understand our race conditions and allow for the pacing to be planned for accordingly. Those chasing PBs and BQs need to pick their battleground well! (As I say, PBs in ADHM are valid only for ADHM!)
- Teamwork is critical: Olympic level pacemakers, refinements in training methods and the most effective of nutrition and hydration plan, all worked in tandem for him to achieve the impossible. Oh yes, and the Nike Next% Vaporfly!
Similarly, pick your team well: coach, nutrition plan, strength training, massage and the like. That will go a long way to support your training and recovery.
- Mental makeup: Records beget records. In ways both direct and indirect, the establishment of a new record time by our peers makes us believe that the goal is achievable. That his own world record was 2:01:39, and Bekele clocked 2:01:41 in Berlin just 3 weeks ago, made it seem more doable.
As we all know running is in the mind. When we see someone with similar capability achieving our goal, it brings the dream closer.
- Run to a plan: On how he ran, Kipchoge said, “I was really calm and trying to go with the pace, not to be crazy or slow, but to follow instructions and what the pacemakers are doing.”
However much we think magic happens on race day, it does NOT. So no heroics during most of the race. So like Kipchoge, we need to have a plan, as per our training and follow that! ;-). All show off needs to be left for the last few km!
- Smile and feed off the crowd support: Quite often, when his efforts are truly hurting him, he cracks a flashy grin—a psychological ruse to overcome the pain. Also, he wanted noise. At Breaking2, Kipchoge ran the F1 circuit seventeen and a half times, very early in the morning. There were no crowds cheering him on. Kipchoge thrives off of support, and he felt the absence on that occasion. He wanted this attempt to attract spectators.
This is something that I use all the time and it works! More often than not, others around me wonder…Is she really enjoying this? But the fact is, that the smile triggers the brain in ways to make the pain more bearable.
And all of us who have run the larger races have experienced the magic of encouragement – the cheering fuels you, versus the empty patches where you feel you are the only lonely soul suffering this!
You Have To Believe.
Confidence, that I can do this, is not manufactured. It comes directly from specific training experiences that demonstrate your readiness to achieve your goal time.
Developing a true belief in the ability to achieve one’s goal is the single most important possible outcome of any runner’s training, because the brain is the ultimate regulator of running performance, and it is next to impossible to fool the brain regarding what the body can and cannot do.
All factors and more contribute towards creating this confidence.
It took the INEOS1:59 team, which includes scientists and coaches, to work together with Kipchoge to achieve this!
We emulate our heroes. And learn from them.
That is why our post-race Facebook posts read like Oscar speeches! 🙂 😉