London Done and Come Early: What us mortal runners can take away from the elites

Yes we’re all excited for the London Olympics this summer but there’s plenty of action over there prior to that with today’s London Marathon. I know I can’t be the only person who feels like a total slacker, slow-poke reading and watching all these amazing races; odd how it’s a mixture of that and then of course jaw-dropping inspiration, right? 😉
track runner
In case you missed it there’s plenty of motivation to vicariously soak up (try not to feel too much like a slacker, slow poke…instead, channel these amazing athletes as examples to reach higher in your own goals.) on both the men’s and women’s side.

2:18:37. That’s what Mary Keitany blazed through the streets of London today in her quest to victory. That’s the third fastest women’s marathon ever recorded, and disregarding the whole hoopla on re-establishing World Records for women it does sit behind the fastest ever time of 2:15:25 that Paula Radcliffe ran at London in 2003. I had to throw that in there because Radcliffe’s run there is just beastly to just an insane level.

Keitany tackled the race in a phenomenal demonstration of the power of negative splits. While the pace ‘dawdled’ early, I’m speaking in relative terms for them because it was 5:30-ish, she then knocked down the pace and ended up throwing down 5:07, 5:02, and even a 4:59 split for mile 25. Let’s take this as a lesson for the mortal: negative split running works, don’t go out to fast due to over-excitment and end up crawling to the finish line.
man running
However, there is something to be said for going out blazing saddles from the gun IF you know you are capable of hanging on to that heated pace as Wilson Kipsang and his 2:04:44 win is an example of just that. (Shout out to all Prefontaine fans here, we know our American harrier was known for running all out from the gun regardless too.) Kipsang literally creamed the field as second place was over 2 minutes behind.

Going out in 4:39 for the first mile, even a 4:30 14th mile, is a risky move even if you are in fantastic shape. The marathon is a tricky beast of a race, a lot can happen over those 26.2 miles and to an extent there are some variable you just have to leave up to chance and hope that things line up in your favor come that day. Even so, when pulled off, such feats are astounding and have to be admired.

Back to mere mortal running realm, there is always something we can take away from what these top runners achieve and accomplish.
* Have confidence.
Both of these races are examples of running with confidence but in two different ways. On the women’s side it takes confidence to have patience. It’s been said that it is the runner without confidence who isn’t secure enough in their ability to stay controlled early in a race, as they doubt that they will be able to close strong. Mary Keitany had patience and the confidence in her fitness, and herself, that she could still beat out her competitors come the latter stages of the race. On the men’s side, Wilson Kipsang clearly had the confidence in himself to go out in those heated times. No doubt he’d been assured of this from previous workouts; he knew he could handle that on race day. Have confidence in yourself; it’s natural to be nervous on race day, but know you’ve put in the work and are ready.

* Run your own race. Don’t run someone else’s race or get too hung up on your competition and what they are doing. Races can always play out a myriad of ways so be prepared for that; go into each one with a few different race plans depending on how the actual race plays out and how you are feeling. Having a few different plans to choose from mapped out beforehand makes it infinitely easier to run YOUR race; making decisions on the fly in the thick of things can be stressful and lot harder in the moment.
* Reach and run. Everyone is motivated by different things; for some it’s the elite runners and for others it is their neighbor who never ran a step until they were 50 and now is avid about fitness. Whatever motivates you to keep at it is great; the London performances should still be able to inspire you to keep setting goals for yourself and are fine examples that CONSISTENCY and staying the course with training and the bumps along the way are worth it. Running will always come with up’s and down’s…be prepared to handle both; relish the up’s so you can recall them during the down’s. Set goals for yourself and reach for them; they don’t have to be PR’s or even times but perhaps just staying consistent. Whatever it is, your mind is often your biggest limiting factor and the thing holding you back.

That’s enough words out of me for a Sunday! I hope you are all having a wonderful weekend and getting your run or sweat on in any way…if you were throwing down some 4:59 miles too en route to a marathon then my hat is tipped to you. 🙂

1) Do you follow elite running? Do their races inspire and motivate you to achieve your own goals? If not, what does inspire you?

2) When you race, do you tend to go in with a few different race plans and goals?

3) What do you think an example of running with confidence is? How do you gain confidence in your running and yourself with running?

4) What is something you are reaching for? A goal with running or anything related to fitness?

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8 thoughts on “London Done and Come Early: What us mortal runners can take away from the elites

  1. I do follow elite racing, but am embarrassed to admit I had forgotten London amid all the Boston stories. I have a huge goal (the whole title of my blog) and I feel that I need to learn all I can from these amazing runners.

    • i love watching the faster folks, so motivation and inspiring…keep reaching for ur OWN goals! 🙂 and stay positive, ur injury will eventually be better…stay the course. 🙂

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