This particular podcast was with Dr. Stan Beecham, entitled "Why You Need to Believe You are Good Enough."
Dr. Stan is a sports psychologist, and he notes that all too often he sees athletes who doubt themselves in their sports. Not just runners, although the interview was mainly focused on running.
What he really focused on is the idea that we set goals that are "safe", even when we don't think so. When we're training on our own, we structure workouts that we know we can succeed at, because failing is scary. Failing puts that seed of doubt in our minds that maybe we can't do it - whatever "it" is that we're training for. Not only is he a big proponent of running with a coach or training group, but also setting scary goals.
What time are you 100% sure you can run? Throw that out the window.
What time are you 90% sure you can run? Throw that out the window.
60%? - There's the sweet spot. Dr. Stan encourages his athletes to set goals that they are 60% sure they can hit, but have 40% chance of failure. His reasoning?
Failing isn't bad.
Failing isn't bad.
I repeat. Failing. Is. Not. Bad.
Failing teaches us how to reorder our priorities, and what we need to work on to hit our desired goals. Or to modifiy a goal to be more realistic. If you're like me, sitting there thinking "well, I'm not sure what time I could run with a 60% success rate so I'll just pick an arbitrary number and go for it." Then failure can help us learn to be more in line with an appropriate number.
Because once you've fallen a few times, then you can succeed. Then you can put the fear behind you. Even if you fail at your 60% goal, you're still running faster than that 100% goal. Once the fear of failure is gone, then we can grow - accept the bumps with the successes and move along in our path towards our goal. We're not doing what is "safe"; we're challenging ourselves. In the end, even if you do fail, wouldn't you rather know that you tried your hardest rather than played it safe?
I will admit, I have a pretty aggressive goal for my first marathon: 4 hours or less. According to my training program through RunnersConnect, that is attainable. Maybe not this training cycle, but I'm sure gonna try. Because my biggest obstacle towards that goal is my own self doubt, so I'm going to try my hardest to believe in myself. That may take several reminders, but hey - we're all a work in progress.
Do you set safe goals? How do you challenge yourself?