Coach and author Brad Stulberg had a ‘pinch me’ moment watching marathoning GOAT Eliud Kipchoge credit his book, The Practice of Groundedness, as inspiration going into his recent marathon world record in Berlin. Stulberg’s principles are simple and applicable to any runner. Here’s how you can incorporate them into your life and elevate your running game, maybe setting your own personal record (and optimizing the journey along the way).
One that Kipchoge is reading Must be a page-turner. https://t.co/ME5fnbnnx7
— Muragu J. KERU (@KeruMuragu) October 14, 2022
Consistency is key for improvement (be patient)
“Small and consistent victories compound over time,” says Stulberg. He uses Kipchoge as an example in his book: the runner is consistent and patient, and trains and acts with ease, rarely pushing his body beyond 80 per cent in practice. “Adopting a mindset that favours consistent small steps may take the excitement out of experiencing massive highs and lows, but it leads to more enduring progress,” Stulberg adds. Far greater than putting in occasional huge performances and risking burnout is keeping your focus on day-to-day consistent efforts and improvements.
Accept where you are to get where you want to be
Stulberg suggests you accept where you are, have realistic expectations, and trust your training. Conventional wisdom and practice argues that if you want to be great at something you must be continuously hungry and pushing, setting up a mindset craving specific and measurable results. Progress is not linear, Stulberg argues, and the conventional mindset tells us that only when we achieve the results we are pursuing are we worthy human beings. “The stress and pressure of carrying this weight is miserable,” says Stulberg. Accepting your current abilities and circumstances will allow you to perform from a place of freedom.
Focus on the process, and the outcomes will fall into place
Instead of focusing on the singular achievement of a giant goal, break goals down into parts, and direct your focus on those parts. Stulberg says this serves as an incredibly powerful focusing mechanism. “For most consequential endeavours, long-term progress is less about heroic effort and more about smart pacing; less about intensity on any given day and more about discipline over the course of months, and in some cases even years,” he explains.
By staying consistent over time, accepting where you are at and acknowledging that achieving goals is often non-linear, and keeping your eyes on the process rather than the outcome, you’ll find yourself running with what Stulberg calls groundedness: “unwavering internal strength and self-confidence that sustains you through ups and downs.” You’ll make progress like Kipchoge does, “slowly by slowly.”