Wednesday, July 3, 2013

The 5th Tenet: Passion!

“A life lived with passion, even if it fails to reach its goals, is far superior to a life lived without passion, even if it is successful”

For the last couple of years you have heard me talk about what I believe to be the 4 tenets of training for distance running in order to achieve your full potential in the sport:  consistency, capacity, frequency and mixture.   Today I want to introduce you to a 5th tenet:  Passion!

Let me explain what I mean by passion in terms of distance running, and how it is a vital component to our success.

Passion:  A deep desire and love of the sport to the point that you decide to do your very best and develop the talent you have for it.  This passion requires that you maintain a positive attitude about training and racing because running is seen as a great gift and as such it is a privilege to do no matter the outcome of the run, workout or race.

This passion, by its very definition, requires us to also approach training in a smart and disciplined manner, as well as an enthusiastic one, because it will take smart training coupled with hard training to reach our full potential.   This means while enthusiastic about workouts and working hard, we must balance that enthusiasm in order to make sure we adhere to the other tenets of training, because ultimately we must have all 5 tenets working together in unison in order to realize its full synergy.  

Thing we need to know about this passion we seek:
  • Passion is part feeling and part conscious decision – we have to want it (the easy part) AND have to make the conscious decision to embrace it and make it happen (the hard part).
  • If it is not fed and safe guarded, passion can be diminished or even extinguished and if not kept in check it can burn too high and burn out.  So the passion we seek avoids the extreme highs and lows and instead steadily and resolutely marches forward towards its goal.
  • The passion we seek is a strong burning but resolute flame, the kind that can weather the storms that will surely come from time to time, the one that will slowly forge our bodies and minds in to rock hard manifestations of distance running prowess over months and years of work.
  • When tough conditions present themselves, such as inhospitable weather or challenging courses, this passion embraces the challenge before it and see it as an opportunity to grow, harden itself and improve.  Its thoughts are never “how do I survive this” but rather “how do I conquer it”. 
  • Passion is an attitude that permeates all aspects of our training on a daily basis, not just when we get ourselves psyched up.  It is positive, it is resolute, and it is unwavering. Ups and downs in training do not affect its strength or mission. 
  • If we train with passion we have no need to brag or be obnoxious on race day to try and psych ourselves up, instead we arrive on the start line with a calm confidence, knowing we are ready for the task at hand.  

When this passion and attitude is coupled with the other 4 tenets, we become a virtually unstoppable distance running machine. The only question is when we will arrive at our goals, not if we will arrive.  That is not to say we won’t have set backs or make mistakes along the way, but when we do we will learn from them and quickly rise again and march forward again towards our goals.  Just like a fully loaded freight train, we will be almost impossible to derail until we reach our goals and beyond.

My 5 tenets to successful distance running training:
  • Consistency
  • Capacity
  • Frequency
  • Mixture
  • Passion


  1. Thank you I needed this today, due to an injury and honestly answering questions that my PT asked me this morning, I have decided to not run the Marine Corps Marathon in October a dream that I have had for almost 2 years and would have been 30 years after finishing in 1983.

    Instead I am going to focus on my love of running and the passion I have to keep improving and doing more with my running.

    Now to turn to the next challenge and chapter in my running life.

    Thank you!.

  2. Glad this helped Harold. Sometimes we have to look past the present and see the future and how to achieve our bigger goals. Good on you for seeing that. All the best for future successes and living your life with passion!

    Happy Running!

    Coach Mark Hadley