13 Dec The 12 Questions to Ask Yourself to Achieve Success
Success means a lot of different things to different people.
Currently I am meeting almost daily with runners looking towards their Marathon goals over the coming 16-20 weeks.
And now is a fantastic time, because there IS time to make that change, implement a program and make sure you are on the right path.
But even with seemingly similar goals (of marathon running) success is so different to each and every individual. And working out what success means to each one is not as simple as asking “what’s your goal?”
So I thought I’d share some of the questions – 12 in fact – I have been asking and a couple of the key strategies I use to get the real information required from a runner and discover what their true visions of success really are.
And believe me when I say, running faster is very rarely the TRUE goal of a runner.
This may be their (or even your) surface goal. The surface goal is the one you choose to share.
But often there is a deeper, underlying goal, that we hold closer to our hearts that we need to dig a little deeper for.
This deeper goal is the one you can really use for driving you forwards. It’s the powerful goal that’ll get you up for those wet and rainy runs. The one that pushes you through that last rep.
So you can gather it’s important that we look and find it.
So here’s where I start:
GROW Method for success.
This method looks at three different aspects.
Goal, Reality, Options and the Way forward.
Let’s break it down.
This is entirely dedicated on where you want to be.
Questions like: “where do you want to be in 3 months time” (1) are common and effective. But these wield answers like: “a sub 4 hour marathon” with runners.
Many of us are so transfixed on times, that when asked “what is your goal” we give a time answer.
For certain runners, time goals really work. These are the strategic numbers people. I for one am not a numbers guy. I hate the numbers for me personally when I am running. But for my coaching I love them. Seeing the pace stats, graphs and data is something I enjoy looking into. But for Ant the athlete, I avoid them and give them to someone else to look at (honestly!)
I’m afraid I cannot give you your goal. Thats not how it works. But what does work is one simple sentence that follows the time related answer:
“Why do you want to achieve this?” (2)
This now becomes one of the most important questions.
This is the question that really highlights what this person wants. “I want to achieve this because my friend ran a similar time”. Or “someone said I would never be able to achieve it”.
Now we are getting to the root of the goal.
Can you see how complex this really is.
I personally keep asking this question until we stumble on something that will really drive the runner on.
“I want to do this to prove to myself that I can”. “I want to cross that finish line and show my children that I’m more than just mum, that I am someone they can be inspired by and be proud of” (as a couple of examples I’ve been told recently)
Now we are painting a picture of your current status. “Where are you currently” (3)
But not simply running times and mileage. These are important things to make a note of.
But we want more. Like “are you happy with your running?” (4)
“What is your balance like between work/life?” (5)
“Are you truly motivated to start this next chapter?” (6)
I even look into previous experiences, so if the runner has completed a marathon before, what went well. What didn’t? So now we aren’t just painting a picture of what their current status is, we are now gathering information on how their results have been in the past.
As an example, a runner who is trying to prove something to themselves because their last two marathons haven’t gone well has a really powerful driver. But we need to identify why things didn’t go to plan. Maybe they are applying too much pressure on themselves? Perhaps their nutrition or hydration didn’t go well.
“How can we get you from where you are to where you want to be?”(7)
With this section we are now seeing what needs to happen to get you to your goal, or to what success looks like to you.
Don’t fall into the trap of thinking this is just about running more, many runners believe to get better they need to dedicate more time.
This is about running smarter.
“What would happen if you did nothing?”(8) is a powerful one. If you simply did zero or neglected the plan, what result would you expect and how tough will your experience be on that race morning. Probably a lot worse than it should be right!?
If we are thinking smarter, what are we looking at?
Can we adjust your structure to ensure you are running at the right times of the week. Can we ensure that you are following a steadily building program of intervals and tempo runs rather than aimlessly running each day.
Can we start to bring in regular strength sessions (often home sessions for many runners) to make sure you aren’t neglecting your strength work.
What about making sure you are having regular massage sessions, or even fitting in a session on your foam roller with a routine that takes 5 minutes each time.
This is the section that should take the most amount of time to finish.
We need to look into a whole number of aspects, mileage, structure of your week, recovery, injury prevention, nutrition, hydration, motivation, desire and much more.
And then we hit the final section:
What are you actually going to DO.
All of the above has been reasonably easy thus far.
We can all create this dreamworld in our heads of completing long runs or entering events.
When I am entering something on the internet, just watching the race videos gives me this feeling in the pit of my stomach telling me that I CAN finish it. It feels so real. Like it’s actually happening.
That buzz feels amazing now.
But at 6am on a cold Sunday morning, that buzz isn’t there anymore.
All you are left with is that dark, gloomy morning.
The sound of the rain bashing the window and you? Well, you’ll be there layering up.
Pondering if you need that rain jacket today. “But last time I wore it I was too hot..! I’ll just wear a base layer, that’ll keep me warm.”
That buzz of the event is long gone, and it’s just you vs the chimp in your head telling you “you can’t do it” or that it’s too cold – “you don’t like the cold”
Without commitment in this Way Forward stage, the journey is harder.
So we need to ask a couple of key questions:
“How are you going to achieve this?”(9)
“How will you know you have been successful?”(10)
“What support do you need?” (11)
These alone won’t guarantee success. Success comes from the implementation phase. But these questions from this post go part of the way (and cover in very light details what I discuss on a 121 basis with runners) to forming the base or the roots of the plan.
From these roots, big trees can grow, but only if we take good care of the process.
Plus the all important question:
“When can I start?” (12)
Well, today if you really want to.
If you fill in the questionnaire online >> here << I’ll get this information right away.
I’ll then email you with details about getting a phone call booked in so we can chat about your goals, and then we can get started on your own bespoke running plan which I’ll write specifically for you, based on your goals and availability.
Plans start from £60pcm. Everything will be written out based on what you can do, including what days you can run on, how often you can run and even down to what pace you should run at.
There are NO cookie cut programs here. I personally plan and write out everything based on YOU.
Plus, if you struggle to fit in a session because of work, just let me know and we can reorganise your plan.
It’s stress free as you don’t need to plan anything, you just need to run.
Its maximum accountability as I’m there with you and will be able to keep check on you every step of the way.
And, from experience, adherence to the programs is VERY high too.
So you can pretty much guarantee consistency, which if you’ve been following my posts for a while, you’ll know is the most important factor in ANY training plan.
P.S. That link to the questionnaire is here: https://runcamp.co.uk/home/online-training/
P.P.S. I’m creating a webinar completely based on goal setting and preparing for next year, but this is ONLY available to those who are in the RUN365 group (join free here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1646300628992181) or who are on my email list (join that at the bottom of this page and download the running guide too!)
P.P.P.S. Those 12 questions I have written above, make a note of them somewhere and spend some time answering them. You should find already you are forming a strong set of goals and reasons why you want to achieve them which for many runners improves their drive and desire straight away. So have a go and start planning for your next goal.
Ant is the creator of RunCamp. Everyday his goals are to educate, motivate and inspire runners and triathletes to make themselves better than they were yesterday.
Running in his eyes is a journey, and through his coaching he aims to make everyone’s journeys more enjoyable.
As well as running, you’ll find Ant regularly taking part in triathlons, from sprint distance up to full Ironmans.
He also has a big weakness in the forms of Papa John’s pizza and Ben & Jerry’s ice cream, so if you ever want to get an easier session, thats one way to get one!
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