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The Real Value of Training

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"What you get by achieving your goals is not as important as what you become by achieving your goals." – Zig Ziglar

Today's midweek motivation quote encourages us to shift our thinking. 

It’s a call to detach and separate the work we put in, from the end result and tangible markers of success that first come to mind (e.g. reaching a new PR, the 100 miler belt buckle, the qualifying time, etc.).

Whatever tangible reward or outcome that could be achieved by reaching our goal is relatively insignificant compared to what the training and work has done to us as people, and the personal growth that has come along the way.

The Challenge

When building a true passion, it’s critical to have something to work towards. In fact, our last article, “When Hard Gets Easy” explained that we should go out of our way to ensure we have relative difficulty in our training. But it's easy to get caught up in the tangible rewards—the medals, the recognition, the sense of accomplishment.

Ziglar's quote challenges us to look deeper. The real value lies in who we’ve become in the process of training. The discipline, resilience, and strength we cultivate are the true rewards, far outweighing anything simply found at the finish line (like that free banana).

But Go Deeper

“Okay, ya, that’s obvious” ~ everyone reading this

It’s easy to say to ourselves that we understand and appreciate this reality. But, if we truly believe in this principle, it would mean that DNF’s, missing a PR time, etc. are totally irrelevant. 

Not hitting a goal on race day changes nothing about the training that was put in. It’s one day, out of what could be months (sometimes years) of work. And if who we’ve become is held at a higher value than the accolade we thought we wanted, then the race-day DNF shouldn’t matter.

See? Now it’s getting harder. This is absolutely something that takes practice, and may never be a 100% detachment. But it’s good to understand and appreciate this principle, so we can catch ourselves if we become too fixed on the finish line reward.

Okay But How

The quote calls us to focus on the journey and process, rather than the outcome. Here’s how we can apply this mindset:

Set Process-Oriented Goals: Instead of fixating on the end result, focus on goals that emphasize daily actions and improvements. For example, commit to a certain number of weekly runs, or set goals for consistency rather than just performance.

Goals Not Bound By Time: Some of us at Long Run have set weekly mileage goals (e.g. run 100 miles in one week). Because this type of goal is DIY, and something we can’t sign up for necessarily, it means we can miss the mark and try again. For example, say you train for months and pick a week to try the 100 mile goal… and you miss it. Well, no need to be disappointed. You can recover for a week or two, and try again.

Apply Our Skills Elsewhere: If the value of training lies in the person we become through the work, then it stands to reason that the skills we learn will apply elsewhere. Mental resilience, patience, and dedication are all core values learned through running. And clearly, these are great skills to have in other areas of life.

Wish For Difficulty

If we’re still in agreement with everything so far, perhaps we can go one step further.

If we moreso value the type of person we become through our training, then it would be in our best interest to also experience adversity, struggle, setbacks, etc. All the bad stuff.

Because smooth training isn’t what builds character. All of the hard, difficult, and sometimes unfortunate things are what builds character, resilience, and strength. We won’t wish anything too crazy for ourselves, but keep this in mind. The difficulty we experience in training, is actually the good part that builds our character.

Final Thoughts

"What you get by achieving your goals is not as important as what you become by achieving your goals."

Ziglar’s wisdom reminds us to value the journey and the transformation it brings. By focusing on personal growth and the lessons learned along the way, we enrich our lives far beyond the tangible rewards of goal achievement.

At Long Run, we believe in loving the process. Build a routine you love, and train consistently. With consistency, we Fuel Our Passion.

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