Heis called “The Philosopher King,” while the other is the author of a book titled “The Practice of Groundedness” whose principles the former says he was inspired by to achieve his latest stratospheric results. He is of course Eliud Kipchoge and the other is Brad Stulberg.
The certainty that Kipchoge finds Stulberg’s principles congenial comes to us from the man himself: as Canadian Running Magazine writes, he told it during an interview. These are not tricks on how to tie your shoes or how to train: they are something more philosophical. After all, these are principles, which dropped into the reality of daily practice become rules.
And by now I bet your curiosity is irrepressible, so here they are.
1. Consistency (and patience)
The mental and physical strength of athletes and runners is built on painstaking and patient perseverance. Pushing on training, slaughtering yourself with work can only allow you temporary improvements. True stamina and soundness of physical and mental fitness can only be achieved by progressing in small but steady steps. Never overdo it and be discontinuous, in short. Tip: In workouts, never go beyond 80% of the effort you can exert.
2. Accept your current state and remember what you want to achieve
Having an agenda is necessary to achieve a goal. It may be to prepare for a marathon or to improve speed. The program is the path that will lead you to that result.
As you go down that road, however, don’t just have the goal in mind and focus on the present: each daily improvement might seem small compared to where you want to be, but having done more today than yesterday is already an accomplishment and that is what you need to focus on.
Act (train) today and evaluate where you are compared to where you were yesterday. Then measure it against the result you want to achieve but without forgetting that the important thing is to progress and build your body and mind to prepare them for the race, and that nothing can be achieved suddenly. Especially in running.
3. Focus on the program
If you want to go from one place to another you use the navigator. The program that is supposed to prepare you for a competition is a bit like your navigator: you have to move (train, in short) to reach your destination, also because teleportation has not yet been invented. But as you drive, you are not constantly thinking about the destination: you are thinking about the road, which is made up of stages, different places, and changing landscapes. This is what you need to focus on, not least because observing these different aspects of a race or program milestones can give you an idea of the state of your progress.
What is important in short is to mind the program and not the goal toward which you tend, against which everything will otherwise seem too difficult. But only for one reason: because you cannot see it in a longer time perspective.
Rejoicing instead in individual workouts, caring little or nothing about individual exploits, as well as bad days, will allow you to have a more complete and profound perspective with respect to the results you want to achieve.
Measure yourself day by day and appreciate how much more you have done today compared to yesterday. The goal awaits you someday in the future but today and up to that point you have to move little by little, training, moving forward with determination but above all respecting your own time.