Steve Prefontaine said, “Success isn’t how far you got, but the distance you traveled from where you started.” Some may read this statement from one of the most dominant distance runners of a generation as implying that he overcame fewer natural talents than his competitors, but others may see it as wisdom from one who knew that the feeling of success came from bettering oneself than by besting others. Maybe it’s a bit of both.
This quote applies to success in life just as much as it does to success in running. Does the millionaire who inherited money from his or her parents feel as successful than the small business owner to rose out of poverty to make his or her fortune? I guarantee the biomechanically efficient aerobic powerhouse who wins big races is no more successful than the mother who wakes up before her kids to get in a long run before her day begins. In this social media infatuated world, too many people measure running success in “likes” and thoughtless comments by people who only know a glimpse of what they have done. Running success is not about what you can show others but what you can show yourself.
Make it to the next light post, do one more turn around the block, keep the pace for one more mile before you give up. Success finds you in the dark winter mornings and hot summer afternoons when no one is watching. It’s in those moments that it shows you that you can do something you’ve never done before. There’s no showing that to anyone because no one knows your success but you.
Don’t be misled by what others have accomplished or the goals they set for themselves. Get out and continue putting one foot in front of the other and take yourself somewhere—as far as you can from where you started. Learn to distinguish your own successes from those of others and you may just find, that while we can’t all be world class distance runners, we can all be just as successful.
Do you have questions about getting started or finding a plan to work for you? Stop in and talk to anyone on our staff. We’ll be happy to help!
Andrew Chumney began working in specialty running in January of 2007. At Fleet Feet Memphis, he is sharing his passions for running with our training groups. If you’ve come to our Thursday night speed workouts or the Saturday morning long run, you’ve definitely benefitted from Andrew’s expertise.