I find myself more and more writing about self-efficacy. It's one of my Optimal Training Principles, and it is at the core of achieving greatness in any endeavor. Self-efficacy is developed through one's ability to persist in the face of adversity.
Ryan Hall is gradually becoming one of my favorite runners. It's not because he runs fast, though. It's because he has persisted in the face of adversity, discovered his strengths as a runner and competitor, and been willing to take big risks in search of big rewards. And he blogs.
Here's a couple quotes from a recent blog entry:
"No matter how bad I have been beaten, my competitors will know that I will always show up to the starting line with fire in my eyes, ready for war, with a spirit that cannot be defeated."
"With every poor performance I have grown stronger as I have picked myself up and gotten back up."
"Knowing now, that I can deal with whatever is thrown my way gives me the courage I need to be bold and courageous out on the race course and to "take my swing", because I know that in my heart of hearts I can deal with the disappointment of coming up short and I know that, though it may take me awhile to collect myself, I will be back out there with fire in my eyes."
Sometimes it is simply the fear of failure that stops a runner from taking the big risk necessary to win. In the heat of the moment, they settle for good. Not because they are particularly happy with good. Just because they can't imagine how they will deal with terrible. The result is they never risk enough to be great.
I don't think that will be the case with Ryan in Beijing. I think we're going to get one of two outcomes: great or terrible. And that's the way it should be. Nobody should go to the Olympics to get 10th, unless that's the best possible place they can finish. But Ryan's good enough to win gold. And as he says:
"I am going to "take my swing" at some point in the Olympic Marathon, and it might result in gold and it might result in a lot of suffering and pain over the later stages of the race, but one thing I know for sure: I will walk away from the finish line satisfied that I wasn't, and will never be, defeated."
To learn more about Ryan, click here.