How do we define progress?
Is it by finishing a run and having something left in the tank?
Is it by winning a race or hitting that elusive PR?
I used to define my progress by both of them. If I ran 12 miles in training and was able to talk most of the way, man that was progress. When I place in my Age Group or hit a new PR at any distance the excitement was always there. Now I still get excitement out of both of those I just define progress differently.
Currently I am coaching a Team of 10 to qualify for the Army 10 Miler team representing Ft Campbell. They are a mixture of raw talent and running studs. The raw talent can and will run their hearts out simply because they can. The studs have not been tested at speed past two miles but have the confidence to succeed. My job with this group is not that hard. I know each of them will fight to make this team and be in the top 5 come May 2nd. I have no doubts in their abilities to make it the distance. To define their progress will be to get them to make improvements over their start times and see how close they can get to the 65 minute qualifying time. (Yes some Soldiers are very fast)
My team ranges in age from 18 – 42. I have short members and some around 6 feet. The ones who are middle of the pack are the ones that I look to pull the biggest gains and fastest times. Is it because they have experience? No, not at all, it is usually these guys who want to push themselves harder to prove they are better than the rest around them.
Yesterday I ran with my favorite training partner, my wife. She has been there for me and the family throughout my career so dedicating the time to help her through a race is no problem. She is scheduled for surgery in a few days and full of the stress that comes with that. The race started and the corral to leave was tiny. People were pushing into each other before heading down the hill. I ran a bit in front of her just to keep her moving. By the end she PRd in a 10K without knowing she was doing it. We crossed the finish, which was on a pretty good incline at 1 hour and 49 seconds. I slowed and let her run in front of me through the shoot. I did not tell her the time for a while until she cooled off a little bit. The smile on her face, when I told her, defined progress for me. She was able to PR without trying.
I am getting closer to my first Half-Marathon since being injured and progress for that day will be defined in completion along with pushing myself through to new heights of fitness along the way.
Is progress the clock? Running New Distances? Pushing others to new heights?
In my humble opinion they all sort of equal progress however, each goal we make for ourselves ultimately defines the progress we are looking for.
Now as you go out and run or whatever endeavor you delve into, what defines your progress?