Real Life Runners with Angie and Kevin Brown

323: Chasing Goals

September 07, 2023 Angie Brown
Real Life Runners with Angie and Kevin Brown
323: Chasing Goals
Show Notes Transcript

Why do you want to chase that goal? We often think that we need a deep reason, and while that can be helpful, sometimes it’s just fun to see what we are capable of. Many runners notice that they are feeling unsatisfied with their running for some reason, and it could be because they are setting goals that are too small.  We as runners like to be challenged, so if we are setting small goals that we know we can accomplish, it makes sense that we could be feeling some of that disconnect.  

So what should we do?  If we set goals that are too big, we might not accomplish them, but if we set goals that are too small, we might end up feeling empty or unsatisfied.  Let’s dive in to today’s episode and talk this one out.  

Highlights of the Episode: 
- Why goals are important
- 2 ways to look at setting goals: 
    - Because you can
    - To see if you can 
- The excitement of chasing a goal you might not achieve 
- Why we would chase goals that aren’t guaranteed




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This is the real life runners podcast episode. Number 300. And 23. Chasing goals

Angie:

All right. So today we're talking about chasing goals. So why do you want to chase that goal? I was starting to think about this week's podcast and I was thinking about you and your training for the 100 mile ultra and why someone would ever want to do something like that. That's a good question. And so I thought we should talk about it, right? Again, I think that There's a lot of ways that we can look at this and often times when we teach goal setting inside the academy, we often talk about finding your why. We talk about figuring out kind of this deeper reason for what you're doing. Which you did

Kevin:

during family dinner the other day, to me, on this goal.

Angie:

I did. So, and I think that that can be very helpful, right? Like having a deeper reason behind it is a very helpful thing to do. But... In talking to you, I shouldn't say but, but I should say and, in talking to you, there's also some other reasons that we can chase a goal. There's

Kevin:

plenty of reasons, and I mean you could call these other reasons part of your deeper why, but I don't think that they necessarily have to be the deepest reasons ever. And, and you can still pursue fantastic goals.

Angie:

Yeah, and I think that one of the main reasons that I wanted to talk about this for all of us that aren't pursuing Uh, an ultramarathon goal or some other, uh, goal out there is that I think that oftentimes we see that many runners get to this point where they're starting to feel unsatisfied with their running for some reason. And it could be because you're setting your goals too small. I think that oftentimes we as runners, we like to be challenged. But we also don't like not achieving the goal, right? And so if we're setting small goals that we know we can accomplish, it makes sense that we could be feeling this level of dissatisfaction. Because oftentimes, you know, the way that we kind of see this play out, Is that runners will have this goal race and then they'll cross the finish line and they're like, okay Well, what's next or they won't have that sense of accomplishment that they thought they were gonna have Maybe they do have some sense of accomplishment, but they thought it was gonna be Mean more they thought I was gonna feel differently than it did

Kevin:

yeah And I mean even if it feels big there's still the question of like well now now, what do I do? Yeah, there's there's this issue of if the goal is so big That it takes so much time to go for like that could be an issue. Maybe it's it's really difficult to accomplish Maybe you can't even accomplish it But then, if you go the other direction, you keep setting these small goals, you don't necessarily get this huge satisfaction from doing it. Like, I've run multiple marathons, so I wouldn't set a goal of, I'd like to complete a 5K. Like, that's just, that's not a big thing for me. Or even completing a marathon at this point. Completing a marathon would not be like a big thing that I'm going to gain a huge amount of satisfaction from. If, if I'm going out to complete and not race in a marathon, that's going to be part of a training for something else. Like, So you've got to find that spot, but sometimes you can get some, some satisfaction and some like, uh, consistency by setting these small goals that you can knock off. But then you also want to have these big goals out there also, even if you don't necessarily accomplish them. Yeah.

Angie:

And I think that But, you know, we can look at this, like you said, a lot of different ways, right? It is beneficial. And so let's, you know, dive into today's episode and we'll kind of talk this one out because when we look at it, we're like, well, if we set goals that are too big, we might not accomplish them. But if we set goals that are too small, we might end up feeling empty or unsatisfied. So like, we're, either way, it's not a good scenario.

Kevin:

Maybe. I mean, that's the thing. It's as we talk into them. Well, they, neither one of those sounds great. Maybe both of them could work in certain time periods. Like, that's the thing is there's so many different ways to go into it. So that's, that's what we're diving into today. All right. So let's

Angie:

start with just like. Why set a goal in the first, like why set a big goal or why set any

Kevin:

goal? Yeah. Yeah. I think it's beyond just big goals. Like why set goals in the first place? What makes a goal important to, to your general, I don't know, training and health and stuff like that. I think that one of the biggest reasons to have a goal out there is it helps provide. Structure to your overall training rather than just be like I'm just gonna kind of get in shape like that That's too nebulous. That's too unknown. Like what does that mean? I'm just I'm gonna try and work on my fitness It's unclear what that exactly means, so having some sort of goal that you can actually direct training towards gives you structure.

Angie:

Yeah, I 100% agree with that. I mean, you're talking to the structure queen over here. Like, I like doing, you know, spreadsheets are like my love language sometimes. But like, one of the things that I was thinking about when, kind of, thinking about this episode. is this idea of doing something because you can. Because I think that a lot of times, we can take our health for granted. We can... Just assume that we're going to have lots of time and plenty of, you know, health to accomplish whatever goals we want to accomplish. And we end up not setting the goals because we just figure, oh, I've got time for that. I've got time. Like, I don't have, I don't have time right now to chase that thing, so I'm just going to put it off. And I think this is one of the things that kind of gets in the way of some people choosing a goal. Is that they're just like, okay, like they'll be time for that or they kind of just put it off. They're taking The their health right now in this moment for granted in some

Kevin:

ways. Yeah I mean, I feel kind of closely connected to that one. Why do you say that? I mean there was there was a point where I I was like I can keep training like this I can set goals I can do things and I thought that I was in fantastic shape overall, and I was running fast times, but my overall health was not exactly on point. Like, when you, when I saw you put it into the outline, taking our health for granted, I'm like, yeah, I may have done that before knocking off a series of seizures in the calendar year. Like, there was an aspect of That's a funny way to

Angie:

phrase it, knocking off a series of

Kevin:

seizures. I know. It's an interesting way that I look back at that time now. Yeah. I was definitely taking my health for granted and being like, look, I've got years of being able to train like this. I can keep hitting off goals. And I had goals at the time. I did not have goals in this chunk of time before that. So it's sort of this weird balance of in my late 20s. I didn't have big goals out there. I was kind of aimlessly training. I was racking up plenty of miles. And then when I started aiming for more specific races, I kind of more ignored my health. And said, train for the race, grind it out, put in the miles, put in the work and, and get the results because eventually you're not going to be able to, but I wasn't, I wasn't looking at my overall health in the whole grand scheme.

Angie:

That's really interesting because that kind of does go along with this theme of like, do it because you can, because you were training at a level that was unsustainable. Yeah, clearly, right? Like your body rebelled on you. Yeah, definitely. But at that time, like before it all came crashing down, it was working. It was working right. Like, and, and you were doing things because you could, like you could. And like, I think this is where a lot of us find ourselves earlier on in our lives, like in our twenties, when we maybe make questionable health decisions and they don't have. Terrible consequences. That's a very good point, right? Like

Kevin:

I think terrible immediate

Angie:

consequences, right? Because like, I mean, you think about what we used to do in college, you know, and like how you used to go out partying all night and then you'd wake up at AM and you'd go to class and you did it because you could, like, there was no, like there were days that you didn't feel great, of course, but you just kept going, right? Like there was no long, I shouldn't say no longterm, but they, like. There were no immediate consequences, like you said, and at the beginning, before you had your first seizure, that's kind of how you were trained. You were like, I'm going to stay up late, I've got my family, I've got all these things, I've got all these time commitments and responsibilities, and I'm just going to do all of it. Yeah, I'm going to

Kevin:

juggle all of these simultaneously, and it's going to work, and it worked for a while until I stopped being able to juggle, and it turns out the ones I was dropping were made of glass, so that's always an

Angie:

issue. Right. Right. And so, kind of going back to... Why goals are important and why we should do things, like why, why set these big goals? Why even chase any of these things right now? Um, one of the things that we can think about is that You're never going to be as young as you currently

Kevin:

are. Yeah, yeah, this is a phrase that I just recently heard. You're never as young as you are today. Like I, I heard it on like, it was a joke that I heard on Instagram, I don't know, a year ago. It was like, today you'll never be as young or as old as you are right now. But when you just look at the one side, you're never going to be as young as you currently are. So don't think, oh, I'll chase that in the future when I have more time. Now is the time to start chasing something. Like, this is as youthful as you're going to get. Yeah,

Angie:

it's like the old adage of, you know, when's the best time to plant a tree? Yep. It was 20 years ago, right? When's the second best time? Today. Yep. Right? And it's like the same thing right here is... Why are you putting off a goal that is important to you? Do you have a goal that you're putting off right now? And this can apply to running or really any part of your life. And at the same time, we acknowledge that there are seasons in our lives and we've had plenty of podcast episodes that we've talked about. Now might not be the best time for you to chase that goal, right? Because there are seasons of your life where other things need to take priority. So how do we balance those two ideas? Okay.

Kevin:

So now might not be the best time to chase that goal in like a three month window in a six month window, but could you do something over the next? Three months, six months given if, okay, if we look from like a running perspective, say that there's a really big race, say you'd like to race a marathon, but right now you don't have the time to be training and putting in long runs to be running so many times a week. Okay, but do you have time to build the strength aspect? Because maybe gym work is not as time consuming as going off and getting 16 mile runs on the weekend. So could you start planting some seeds? That will pay off. And this thing is you're capable of huge, fantastic, amazing results. But they take time, and it's a slow building process. So, if you want to accomplish amazing things, and you can all accomplish amazing things, you've got to start working on it, because when you decide, alright, that's the thing I want, you're not going to get it in three months. Like if the goal is really big, it's going to take some time to work on it. So if you have a big goal out there, you can be like, all right, now's not the season to build up huge mileage. I don't have that, that time commitment to do it, but I could work on this different aspect that will still help me towards

Angie:

my goal. Yeah. And I think that's really the important thing is, is having that. Goal out there, having a big goal, which is we like to use the analogy of a lighthouse, you know, that the goals are the lighthouse in the direction in the distance that give you a direction of where you're heading, of where you're aiming towards. And as you get closer and closer, then you start to see the lighthouse more clearly and you can start to, um, Kind of specify a more specific path, specify a specific path, but like, you can start to, you know, kind of tune in more hone in more on your exact target, right? When you're further out from that goal, you can still be working towards that goal. And I think this is something that a lot of us. Don't think about because we want immediate results. We want that immediate payoff. We want to have that dopamine hit of doing the thing and getting a result. And when you have bigger goals, it's those wins and those results that we're looking for. They can be few and far between unless we structure it correctly like it, right, because we can break it down into smaller goals and, um, know that we're making progress toward that bigger goal. And that's kind of what the, the key is. And that's kind of the secret behind achieving big goals is that you can't just go out and achieve a huge goal that you're, Incapable of right now without doing some of the groundwork,

Kevin:

right? I mean, that's the thing is you have to lay all this groundwork. So here's the one of the other reasons I think people put this off, not just because it's sometimes it's not as exciting to lay the groundwork. Like laying the foundation to help set you up for giant goals is not the coolest of things. When people were trying to climb Mount Everest, they had to go set up base camp and then they had to set up the second base camp. Like they were just like, all right, you know what? We're climbing the mountain today. You had to go set up camp on the first level and then set up on the second level before you even attempted to reach for the peak. That wasn't exciting. It was just a huge amount of work that had to go in before you could even try to get to the top thing. So. Knowing that you have to put in all of this work, picture, pick out what is that big goal that you're going to have to do and then start working for it. Like so often I think people put off these goals because they're waiting for everything to line up for them, for the circumstances to all be perfect to start going after the goal. Well, and this is,

Angie:

this is an interesting thing too, right? Is people use their current circumstances as the reasons or the excuses why they can't shape.

Kevin:

their goals. No, I can't chase it because, because this is currently happening. Right. You talk about the seasons. Well, I can't chase the goal because I just had a kid. I just had a promotion and now I've got all this work, or I'm going after a promotion and I got all this work. Yeah, you can't. Get that goal in the next three months, but there's always foundational pieces that you can aim for yeah

Angie:

And I think that this is one of the things that we need to acknowledge is that anytime we take on new challenges that is going to require some sort of change in what we're currently doing because The person that you are today and the way that you're doing things today is not capable of the goal that you want to achieve. Yes. You're going to have to change, you're going to have to grow, you're going to have to train, you're going to have to put in some effort in order to achieve that goal. And that's going to require new plans, new schedules, all sorts of things to kind of fall into, into place for you. And so, So, if it's not currently the season for you to really go all in and go hard towards that goal, what can you do to kind of start moving yourself in that direction? Yeah,

Kevin:

or if that goal really matters. You've got to work with the circumstances around you, like, are you just putting up because sometimes there are circumstances like if, uh, like if you are chasing a big promotion at work, or if you just got, if you're six months pregnant now might not be the time to start marathon training and build up your mileage like that might not be the best opportunity, but. If you have to think like, is this an actual limitation on my, my physical capabilities on my actual time? Or am I just using these as excuses because what you have to in general figure out for whatever the goal is is How do I make the current circumstances work the best for me? Yeah, because they're never going to fall perfectly into place Yeah, you're always gonna be able to find something that you're like, oh, well, that's in the way That's gonna stop me from doing it. What about this? It's, it's not perfect right now, but at what point in time is it going to get better? Like, it's simply life, so if you have this big goal that you're going for, you have to figure out how to best aim for that goal, how to start moving towards that goal while existing in your life. Because life is not going to stop for the next like five years so that you can just pursue that goal. Either

Angie:

that or you have to change your circumstances. Also a possibility. Thank you. have to... Evaluate how important that goal is so we can ask ourselves, you know, do my current circumstances support me chasing this goal? And if the answer is yes, great. If the answer is like, kind of right then, like you said, how can it, how can you make it work within those circumstances? And if the answer is no, then I think you have to ask yourself, how important is this goal to me? Do I? Do I want to abandon the goal right now? Do I want to focus on small things and just kind of, like, put this goal on? Pause, right? And kind of delay it, or do I want to change my current circumstances to allow me to better chase this goal? That's... Because that is an op, that is an option also.

Kevin:

That is very much an option. You could simply change the circumstances and make them fit your, your pursuit of the goal. Right.

Angie:

And I think that all of us have to answer that question for ourselves. Like there's no... Right or wrong answer to that question at all. Yeah,

Kevin:

so many people look at it and they're like, well, I can't change this So like what you could like people are like, well, no, my job is really busy. Okay, but you could technically quit Yeah, you could get a different job. Yeah, but most people don't look at that as an option, right in terms of like their running goals Well, I would like to train for a marathon, but I've got this job. Okay, but you could quit it if Racing the marathon matters so much that this job doesn't fit

Angie:

into it, right? And I think that it's really important for us to Own our choices in those moments, because some, some people might blame their circumstances and say, you know what, I cannot chase this goal right now because of my job. Yep. Right. And so you can say, well, you have, I don't have a choice whether or not to work. And the answer is you do have a choice. You're just choosing. Maybe it's financial security. Maybe it's, you know, it's the paycheck because your family needs to eat. Maybe it's, you know, um, you, you really like those work hours or you like the place that you work. Like, either way, you're making that choice because you always have the option to quit. Like, you could just not go to work tomorrow. That is a choice, right? There will be consequences of that choice and you might not like those consequences. And so, because you don't like those consequences, you are... choosing to go to work. And so by choosing to go to work, then does that take, you know, the marathon off of the, of the, uh, agenda for now? Yeah,

Kevin:

quite possibly. But you did make the, you did make the choice to get there. Yeah.

Angie:

So now I want to kind of dive into this idea of like when we're chasing big goals, and this is really where I, I want to kind of pick your brain some more with this idea. Excellent. That's what I love. I know. That's such a weird phrase too, isn't it? Like picking your brain. Yes. Super weird. Yeah. Anyway, let's talk about chasing goals to see if I can. Right. So the first thing we just kind of finished talking about, which was a little, you know, there's some little asides in there is like chasing goals because you can write, because why not now? Why like no, no time. What is it? No daylight. No time like the present. Well, I was going to say no daylight today. Of course you were. Taking it straight from rent. Right? Of course you were. But, um, then there's this idea of chasing a goal to see if I can achieve it. Yeah. And when you say to see if I can, and this was your answer the other night at dinner. Yes. When I asked Kevin, I said, why do you want to run a hundred miles? And he said, to see if I can. And I'm like, are you, like, do you doubt your ability to do it? And he, like, what was your answer?

Kevin:

To that? I mean, I don't remember what I said, but... But, like, what is your answer now? I, I don't know. I really don't know if I can run a hundred miles. Like you believe you can. I believe I can. Yeah. Like I'm not, I'm, I'm training for it with full belief that I can do this. But you're not sure if you actually can. My word, that is. Three digits. Yeah. Like that's a long distance. And

Angie:

you've never done it before. Of course. Right, so you have no proof or no evidence that you're actually capable of doing that. Right, like there's plenty of other people that have. Yes. Right, and that, and that gives

Kevin:

you. So you can like, you can borrow their evidence of like, this person was able to accomplish it, so I could probably accomplish it. Yeah. But I have no direct evidence to myself. Right. I've attempted this before, and I made it two thirds of the way there, which is a very glass half full way. I also missed by a Right. Right. Third,

Angie:

well, and here's the thing that I think a lot of people do. Um, and, and I'm, I've done this before too. It was like not chasing goals because we're afraid of failure. We're afraid I might not get it. Like there's a chance, there's a small chance, there's a medium chance. There's a big chance that I might not achieve this thing. And so a lot of people, like I said, even, even myself included. Stop before they even start, right? Because they don't want that feeling of failure. They don't want to not be able to achieve that thing. And I think that that leads a lot of us to missing out on some pretty amazing things. So, how can we wrap our head around this idea of to see if I can, right? Like, you might not achieve the goal. But it's worth a

Kevin:

shot. Yeah, it's it's it's suggesting almost that The goal is not the goal. That, that failure is not an option. Failure is almost a necessity along the way. Like, this is the thing. I've tried this goal and did not achieve it. So you could say that that attempt was a failure. Yeah. Like, objectively, that attempt was a failure. But I learned a heck of a lot from it. Mm hmm. Okay? So, you've got that coming in there also is, was it a failure? Was it a learning experience? It can be both, okay? I think people that are like, Oh, it wasn't, it wasn't a failure if you're giving another shot. No, no, no. I put a race number on, I paid a large entrance fee, and I tried to run a thing, and I did not make it to the finish line. Objectively, I actually failed at that, and that's gonna be okay. Like, you can put goals out there that is not a guaranteed goal.

Angie:

Yeah, and I think that's an interesting thing, is like this idea of... All goals should not be

Kevin:

guaranteed. If you're picking every single goal out there that you know that you're definitely going to be able to get to that, you're just, you're shooting too low. That's, I think that's a bold take on goals, but if every goal you've ever set, you're like, yeah, that's my goal, I'll do this, this, and this, and then I'll be able to achieve that goal. I think your goals are too low.

Angie:

Yeah, and I think that this is where it gets really, really uncomfortable. Because we don't like failure. Like, we don't even like the idea of failure. Especially as humans, right? Like, our brains don't like not succeeding at

Kevin:

something. Right. So they try and re Repel you? Repel you. Protect you? Sure. They try and protect you from even starting the thing that you might fail at. Right. Like, you tell yourself, this is my goal, and your brain goes, you're not going to achieve that. You're likely to fail at that. Don't

Angie:

try that. Right. And so it's all about the way that we choose to think about the goal. Right? And I think that this is where it gets really interesting and this is where it can become a lot more fun because if we're setting really big goals that are going to stretch us, like the whole point of a goal is, yes, it's to give you direction, but it's also to give you an avenue of growth.

Kevin:

Yeah. Right. I mean, that's a great way of the lighthouse, but there's growth in there.

Angie:

And the goal, chasing that goal is the way that you grow. It's one of the ways that you're, you're choosing to grow. And I think that I would love for you to talk a little bit more kind of about your thoughts around, you know, the hundred mile race or. Putting goals out there, um, that you're not sure about achieving that you might never actually achieve and what is the benefit of that?

Kevin:

I mean, I think that it's really exciting to try and see where your limit actually is. And my limit isn't 26 miles. Like, I know that I can go further than that. So, it's interesting to see what that might be. Like, where does it get so much that I cannot do it anymore? But you have to chase it with this, like, Open curiosity and the goal, my being able to run 100 miles does not, is not going to define me. My, when I tried it and I didn't get there, I was not a failure of a hundred miler. Like that was not my new definition of self. So when I get there and I can do it, my new definition of self is not going to be a hundred miler. Like there's a whole lot of other ways that I identify myself as. Is it going to

Angie:

be one of the ways? An ultra marathoner, or I'm an ultra

Kevin:

marathoner. You

Angie:

are. I've covered that distance. Okay. So is there like another identity that you'll then take on like a hundred mile finisher?

Kevin:

Yeah, but it's not so intrinsically entwined with my soul identity of self. Okay. So there's this clear separation between the goal of covering this distance and who I am. Mm-hmm. which means if I don't get the goal, it's not a, a massive personal failure. It was a failure in this one thing that I was attempting, you know, when, when the last time I tried this and I, I pulled out at mile 60, whatever. I didn't suddenly not be your husband. I wasn't not the girl's dad anymore. Like, it didn't fail me as an actual, on a very personal level. It hurt a lot. Like, I was very upset at that because, well, one, I was exhausted. So there's just so much emotion at that point in time. Like, you're trying to process so many things, but it didn't change who I was as an actual being. Like, it's not a personal failure because I didn't cover the distance. So as amazing as that will be, it'll be this cool athletic accomplishment when I cover it. It's not going to change me from being your husband, the girl's dads, and I, I value those identities more. And so, if I can keep this separation of, of goal and who I am, just enough gap in between those things, I think it helps you pursue a goal that you might not

Angie:

get. And how do you think, like, what do you think is a good way to do that, to maintain that

Kevin:

gap? You know, I've just been saying for so long that... Failure is not an option. Failure is a necessity. And trying to preach that message to so many other people that... It's, I don't know, it's worked its way into my head, but it's like, no, no, no, just keep going for a hundred and change how you, how you do it, how you pace it, how you fuel it, how much water you're going in, like change all sorts of things, play with these variables, work on different aspects, but just keep going and knowing that every time you attempt it may be a learning lesson that involves a whole lot of falling on your face and not getting to the finish line. Yeah. It may be real painful in the process. Well, and

Angie:

that's the thing that I think we have a hard time with is like. It's understanding that there is pain in the process and that discomfort is a part of choosing those big goals I had a post it note on my like workstation for a while that said failure is the only option. Yep, and That was such an interesting Mind shift for me because we've all heard the phrase failure is not an option, right? And there's a lot to be said for that. There's a lot to be said that if It's only a failure if you stop trying, right? There's sure. There's people that talk

Kevin:

about that, but when you say failure is not an option, it makes me think of the movie Apollo 13. Apollo 13? It's Apollo 13. Okay, I had it wrong on one of the other podcasts. I think you said Apollo 11, yeah. But on Apollo 13, failure is not an option. Like there was, that's one of the lines in the movie where they're like, these are the parts we have on the shuttle you have to figure out how to make the oxygen work failure is not an option because if you fail they all die. Yeah. Like in that case... Failure was not an option. And that wasn't like this, like, I mean, failure was an

Angie:

option. They, they just would have all

Kevin:

been dead. Right. But that wasn't this uplifting thing of like, nope, just keep trying. We believe in you. Like a picture of a cat holding on with its nails, like, you know, hang in there. Like that's not what it was. This was failure is not an option because people are going to die. So that's a different aspect than, you know, when you're pursuing these goals. Like if I don't cross the finish line, no, one's dying. Like, that's not, that's not the importance of this, of this goal that I've set out there. And I think that's probably where it came from, was seeing that on the wall for so long that failure is the only option. That that's worked its way into my head of failure is not a negative. Failure can be a positive. Failure can be a regular aspect of existence. Yeah. And I think

Angie:

that was a huge thing because failure has always been something that's held me back because I hate. I hate failing at something. I hate not being good at something, and it's some, it's one of the obstacles that I've had to continuously overcome in my journey as a runner, and also as an entrepreneur, as a business owner, um, because I'm They're, when I was younger, I would avoid things because I didn't want to fail at them because I didn't like the feeling of failure. I didn't like not being good at something. And that is one of the things that running taught me very early on. And people often ask me what I like about running. And I say that running keeps me humble. Running shows me that I, I'm not always good at this thing, and I can still keep working, and I can get better at it. Because I always thought I was a terrible runner. I had this idea in my head that I was a slow runner, and that I wasn't good at running. And then I started to kind of break that belief down and try to actually try to get faster. And I did. I was able to get way faster than I ever thought that I could get. And... That was such an interesting chain of events, and it really led into this idea of, like, if failure is the only option, what that's telling me is, you need to keep trying these big things, because you need to fail, so that you can learn lessons that will help push you forward. When you look at the big picture.

Kevin:

I mean, that's the thing, is you always have to be able to pull back and see a bigger picture. And most people don't like pulling back and seeing a really long timeline. People want to put in some work and get some results now. And as runners... And I don't blame you! Yeah, as runners, sometimes we're able to stretch it and be like, Okay, I put in the work and I get the results in a three month window. It's, I've got a 12 week training plan and that's what I work with. Maybe I've got a 16 week training plan, but that's it. Then I get my goal. That's what I'm willing to put in as a 16 week training plan, and the thing is that your training plan might be more of like a, I don't know, multi year training plan process? And that's not what it is. Like, you don't have to have it written out onto a calendar what you're doing for the next five years, but you can grow for year after year after year. Like, I've gotten to where I am right now. One of the dads on the team was like, I saw that you, you ran. 40 miles over the weekend. I can't even think about running that long. That just seems so crazy. I'm like, yeah, but I didn't just start running this distance. Like I've been doing this since I was your kid's age. Like I have years of experience of doing this and a whole lot of failure along the way. Some of which I took way too personally. Like, some of which was, to me, it was a personal failure and letdown. Like, I, I walked onto the team in college, I couldn't keep up with people, I eventually, um, stopped running on the team in college, and that was really tough for me. Personally, because I took that as as a personal failure, and so I think you're not good enough. I was not good enough Yeah, I wasn't good enough freshman year when I was trying to keep up. I was still wasn't good enough sophomore You're trying to keep up. I just I was never good enough, so But you

Angie:

not being good enough, well, not being fast enough to be one of the top people on a Division 1 team that's always going to Nationals is not the same thing as you not being good enough as a

Kevin:

person. Right, but at the time I was not quite as evolved.

Angie:

It gets much more murky, right? Yes. Like, when you don't... Maintain that

Kevin:

separation. Yeah. That's the thing is the separation matters. And I know that I screwed my, my running and pursuit of big goals up at the time, so I think I've, I've pushed so far the other direction. I think that's why it's, I mean, I've worked on this so hard. I think that's why I'm able to try and pursue a goal like running a hundred miles mm-hmm. when the opportunity to failure is still pretty sizable in there and I'm still good with chasing it.

Angie:

Right. Because you've been working on the mental shifts for about 20 so years. Yeah. Yeah. And this is the thing that I think is so funny is we just expect some of these shifts to happen and I heard it on a podcast,

Kevin:

so it should be all good at it now, right?

Angie:

Like just like running these mental shifts take time to practice as well because you could be listening to us right now and be like, yeah, that sounds great. I'm going to separate my goals from my sense of self and I'm not going to allow a failure in running to define me as a person. Yep, all of that sounds good. And then you fail, right? And then you don't achieve the goal. And then what does your brain start saying immediately? It's usually something pretty mean because that's what you've been practicing. And that's the cycle that you have learned for the last 30, years of your life, right? That's the, the track that has been playing on repeat in your

Kevin:

car. Yeah. I mean, the whole idea of keeping a separation between goals and self sounds awesome until you DNF. Nothing shoves together a goal and your sense of self quite like those three letters. It really, it does, but it doesn't have to. You can keep those separate. That you didn't finish that race and you can still be an amazing human being.

Angie:

So, chasing goals to see if I

Kevin:

can. To see if I can. When the goals are so big, they have so many steps along the way, and each of those steps can be its

Angie:

own goal. Yeah, and I think that's a really helpful way to do this. And this is the goal setting process that we teach inside the academy. We teach people how to take a big goal and then break it down into smaller goals that are more achievable, more digestible, until you get down to the place where you currently are. Yep. Because if you take a really, really big goal, say it... Say it's running a hundred miles and right now you're currently able to run a 5k. It's not as simple as, well, I'll just keep building mileage up, right? Like a lot of people think it is awesome. I'll just add a mile to my long run every week. Like, that's not what it takes.

Kevin:

That would be so cool. No,

Angie:

I mean, would it be, I

Kevin:

know, cause it would be a remarkably boring process. You'd be just super successful. And you're just like, Oh, I just keep adding a mile. And this says this doesn't have challenge to it. Well, and it's funny

Angie:

too, because this is something that I've noticed as a coach also, and. I don't know if you've ever, like, taken it personally when, like, our athletes don't achieve their goals. Like, taking that to mean something about us, like, as coaches or about the training plan that we created or whatnot. And there's so many factors, like, especially when I was a young coach, like, um, early on in our coaching career. Yeah, exactly. Um, I, I used to take it a lot more personally than I do now. Like my first, I was like, Oh no, are they mad at us? Yep. Like, Oh no, they didn't achieve their goal. Do they blame us? Like, and it was such a personal thing when in reality. I have very little control over anyone else achieving their goal. I can help guide them. I can give them best practices. We can give them training plans. We can help guide them and coach them along the way. But ultimately, they're the ones doing the work. The daily work, the weekly work, the work in the race, right? Like the mental work, all of that. Like, we can't do any of that for them. No,

Kevin:

I mean, I'd been coaching high school for a few years before you started coming on and coaching the cross country team with me and you learn real quick that you have very, like you said, you can, you can guide as best as possible, but the number of extra variables in a teenager is just insane. So, yeah, it's, it's hard

Angie:

though. Like it's, I feel, and this is the funny thing. And the point that I want to make here is it's hard, even though like. I am literally a different human. There

Kevin:

should be

Angie:

clear separation. There's clear separation here. Like I am not that other human. I can't run it for them. Like clear separation. I would still personalize it. You know, every now and then it like pops up and then I like, you know, push it back to like, not push it back down, but I'm like, that's silly, you know, thanks brain. But no. Um, but like, even though there. There's a very clear separation of, I can't achieve this goal for that person. You can still like personalize it and make it mean something about yourself. And so when it's within yourself, it makes it even more challenging. Yeah. No. Not, not achieving the goal and then also your sense of like who

Kevin:

you are. Yeah. No, I, I, I completely agree with that. Uh, there's, there's one last thing that I like to do to try and help work this separation and it's, it's mentally saying what's the difference between going after this PR race goal, whether it's a time that you're chasing, a new distance that you're, that you're chasing and starting a brand new training plan. Okay. Okay. They're both a complete new thing. They both totally new thing, but if you start a brand new training plan You're like, Oh yeah, well, I'm just going to change my training a little bit. Okay. So many people would be willing to hop onto a new training plan if they think it'll help them get to a goal. Okay. But most people flip straight to the goal part and say, I don't know, I need to chase this goal. But the pursuit of a new plan, that, that is a goal in and of itself saying, I'm going to completely overhaul the way that I'm training. And that can be as, as big of a difference as I'm currently training for a 10 K. I'm going to start training for a half marathon instead of saying my goal is to PR on the half marathon. Your goal is to change your training plan to prepare you to race a half marathon. A lot of people might find that a whole heck of a lot easier to wrap their head around. Then I'm going to PR in the half marathon. Okay,

Angie:

so your suggestion is to focus in on the process versus the actual goal. Yeah. Yeah, and we've had podcasts about that before, too. It's, um, too big of a topic for us to get way into right now, um, because we're already way into this podcast and about to wrap it up here. But I think that's where it lies is the way to. Chase big goals to see if you can to focus on that capability is to focus on the process rather than the outcome

Kevin:

Yeah, see if you can one day at

Angie:

a time one day at a time Yeah so by focusing on the process and by focusing on your training plan and what are you doing on a daily a weekly a Monthly basis to move you towards the goal that you want to achieve Can you focus on that instead and choose to see that as a win along the way? That's getting you closer and closer to those

Kevin:

bigger goals, right? Then it's just it's constant wins and constant wins are fulfilling.

Angie:

Yay for fulfilling. There you go So go out there and chase big goals number one because you can and number two to see If you can hope you guys found this helpful. If you liked it, please take a screenshot, share it on social media, leave us a review on Apple podcasts. If you haven't already. And as always, thank you for joining us. This has been the real life runners podcast episode number 323. Now get out there and run your life.