The Secret to Getting Ahead

The Secret to Getting Ahead

5 Minute Read

"The secret to getting ahead is getting started." – Mark Twain

Today's midweek motivation quote has some sass. 

It comes from the legendary Mark Twain, and this timeless advice serves as a reminder that progress and success begin with the simple act of starting. And, that this is the step most people do not make it past. 

The Challenge

You’re here because you’re an athlete. And presumably, you’re a big fan of getting started. That’s how you became an athlete! But it is powerful to realize that we are all guilty of this from time to time.

And, as athletes, we often find ourselves dreaming of the next big race, a new personal record, or an exciting adventure. These dreams Fuel Our Passion, driving us to push ourselves a bit further each season. However, the most significant barrier we face is often the hesitation to take that crucial first step.

It's easy to become overwhelmed by the magnitude of our goals. We wait for the perfect conditions, the ideal training plan, or the right moment. Our personal favorite intrusive thought is the always present, “someday I’ll have enough time.” Yet, this delay can lead to missed opportunities and unfulfilled potential. Twain’s words challenge us to get over it, and just start now. 


We've all been there—caught in the cycle of planning and perfecting, but never actually starting. This quote resonates deeply with us at Long Run because it cuts through the noise and gets to the heart of progress: just begin.

Starting a new training program, signing up for a race, or even committing to a daily run can feel daunting. But once we take that initial step, the path forward becomes more clear each day, and the journey begins to unfold. But, we will never (never ever) see that clarity, until we’ve begun. No amount of planning will get us there.

The Plan of Action

Twain's quote highlights a simple yet profound truth: the hardest part is often just starting. So, how do we overcome this initial hurdle?

Small Goals First: Begin with something manageable (which is relative). It could be as simple as running for ten minutes today or selecting an ultra to sign up for from the ever growing list of races on ultrasignup. Small steps create momentum.

Break It Down: Large goals can be intimidating. Break them into smaller, actionable steps. Instead of focusing on running a marathon, concentrate on completing your weekly training plan. Some people even sign up for shorter race distances throughout their training plan, as an accountability measure. 

Commit Publicly: Share your goal with friends, family, or on social media. Accountability can provide the push you need to get started.

Visualize Success: We’ve always found this to be strange advice, but it’s legitimate. Picture yourself, as vividly as you can, achieving your goal, and the satisfaction it would bring. This visualization can prepare the mind to act, turning abstract dreams into motivation.

Just Do It: Sometimes, the best approach is to stop thinking all together. The first five minutes are the hardest, so just get it over with and start. You’ll set everything else in motion.

Building Momentum

Once you take that first step, momentum begins to build. Each run completed reinforces your commitment and brings you closer to your goal. This momentum can transform a daunting challenge into a series of manageable tasks.

Think of it this way: If you're aiming to run a marathon, the first run isn't 26.2 miles—it's a short, easy jog around the block. And with that context, it is best not to dwell on how far away the goal may seem. Each subsequent run builds on the last, gradually increasing your endurance and confidence.

Final Thoughts

"The secret to getting ahead is getting started."

Twain's wisdom reminds us that progress is within our control. By taking the first step, we set a series of events into motion that can lead to incredible achievements. The future isn't shaped by idle dreams but by the actions we take today.

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

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