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Habit 2 of the Seven Habits of Highly Successful High School Runners

September 4, 2008 - Erik Brown
In distance running as in life, you need to develop good habits to be successful. In this post I offer the second of my Seven Habits of Highly Successful High School Runners. If you missed the first habit, click here.
Habit 2 – Prioritize. Here is an undeniable fact of life. You will succeed at the endeavors that you make priorities in your life. The more time, energy, effort, and focus you devote to an activity, the greater the degree of success you will achieve in that area.
I need to qualify that assertion in this way. God given talent matters in some endeavors more than it does in others. To put it in sports vernacular, God makes sprinters and high jumpers. Of course, the folks who are blessed with those abilities still have to work very hard to polish their skill, but it’s basically already “in there.”
Now here’s a beautiful truth, God given talent is less important for distance runners! You have a very big say in how good you become. If you make your daily workout a priority (along with your studies, family, etc.) you will enjoy the fruits of your labor.
But don’t just take my word for it. After the U.S. Men’s Olympic Marathon Trials, Brian Sell was interviewed by Runners World magazine. My favorite question and answer from that interview was as follows:
Runners World: “Does this validate your position as one of the top American marathoners?”
Sell: “I guess the proof is in the pudding. In high school I was probably a minute and something slower than these guys (Hall and Ritzenhein) in the 2 mile. I’m just so happy today. I hope every kid out there who’s not a state champ or district champ looks at what I achieved today and says: Hey if I put in the work, I can do this. This is the happiest ending I can think of.”
“Putting in the work” requires discipline and determination. Your brain can come up with ten rationalizations to skip a run faster than a calculator can come up with the answer to 2 plus 2. You need discipline to reject that kind of thinking – each and every day. Furthermore, life will always provide plenty of excuses for you to say “I can’t run today because... (insert weak excuse here)” Very often, you need to be downright determined to get your workout in. You don’t give up when you encounter a hill on a cross country course. Likewise, you need to charge right over the minor obstacles that are part of everyday life.
This doesn’t mean that running should be the most important thing in your life. I'm saying focus on the things that are really important to you. Devote your time and energy to them and don’t let casual distractions keep you from reaching your potential.
Nike is right. Just do it!
Congratulations to the Altoona Boys’ XC Team on their impressive victory at the Big Valley Invitational last Saturday. They knocked off the always strong boys’ teams from State College and Bradford, and also XC powerhouse Coatesville. As always, www.PenntrackXC did an outstanding job of covering the event. Click here for their write up and some great photos.

Kudos also to the Altoona Girls XC Team with a strong 4th place finish and to the Hollidaysburg Girls XC Team with a solid 6th place result.

The Holidaysburg Area YMCA will hold their second annual City of Altoona Race (scroll down when you open this webpage) on Saturday, September 6th at 8:00 AM. The race begins on 11th Avenue in downtown Altoona. You can download a race brochure here

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