Have you ever had a terrible run, the kind where your whole body feels like you’re Steve McQueen in Papillion? Your legs are shackled; you’re shaking from nothing but starvation rations for months, maybe years; and your stride length was developed in solitary confinement. I read a study once that said these are your most productive runs, but neither my psyche nor my GPS agree. I do know, however, in fitness failure is good. If you work to failure when you strength train (the point where your muscles just won’t do one more bicep curl) you will see future strength gains. If you run like the warden is on your tail, you will see future strength gains. The principal of Positive Adaptation requires that you do something that your body isn’t prepared to do so that it will make the adaptations it needs to make for future success.
I’ve been learning how to fail successfully a lot this year. It’s not very comfortable, but I understand that I’m in good company with the likes of Rick Warren, Thomas Edison and almost every self made billionaire out there. I think one key to failing successfully is doing it without seeing yourself as a failure, but seeing it, instead, as a necessary part of the process. Pushing yourself exposes your weaknesses, I truly hate that, but caving in to ego will put you out of the game. I’m learning that not every run, marketing plan, resolution, or endeavor will be a raging success but if I only do the safe things, where is the growth? I guess when it’s all said and done failing to succeed is a lot better than a cozy cell in Alcatraz.