This web log was created to keep you up to date with the athletic pursuits of Blake Boldon. It will be updated regularly with competition schedules, results, and photos.

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

From Good to Great

Admittedly, I won't get any originality points for the title of this entry but if Charles Caleb Colton was correct when he said, "imitation is the sincerest flattery," then I'm sure Jim Collins won't mind me borrowing his title. I'm in Charlotte and my copy of Collins' book "Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap... and Others Don't" is at home in Colorado Springs so I won't be able to post any of my favorite passages. What I can say is that the book is a case study in what separates companies that make a remarkable, sustainable jump from those companies who have consistently unremarkable yet good results. The fundamental lesson that I learned from the book is the greatest opponent to being great is simply being good. Along with success and achievement come recognition and acknowledgement. Soon to follow are satisfaction and complacency. Not a lot of people can say that they've been in the top ten four times at USATF track and field championships and a certain satisfaction comes along with that sort of accomplishment. Unfortunately, satisfaction with less than extraordinary results is only slightly less malignant than the worst form of complacency. I have taken some big strides in the last few months in terms of training and gaining a better focus and understanding what it takes to succeed in the sport of track and field. Unfortunately when I toed the line in Boston my confidence and competitive hunger wasn't improved from the previous seasons. The indoor championship race was a first step toward a great outdoor season but it reminded me how hungry and passionate an athlete has to be to succeed. What's the explanation for an athlete with personal bests of 3:40 and 13:55 in the 1500 and 5000 winning the US 3000 meter title? It can only be that David Torrence was more motivated and ready to win than the rest of the field. Halfway through the race I caught myself thinking "I just need to be in the top 8 to finish in the top half." These kind of thoughts don't go through the heads of people contending for the win. I may not have been as race sharp as a couple of the other guys in the field but I don't consider myself less fit than the five guys that beat me. They were all just hungrier and more well prepared mentally. It's not an easy thing to fix but acknowledging the issue is a big step. I had a good talk with Coach Simmons Saturday night after the meet and I left there with a renewed motivation and belief in my ability to compete at a high level this spring. We talked specifically about the training and discipline that it will take and we agreed that I need to look at my move to Colorado Springs as time at a training camp versus a typical relocation. Something as simple as changing that perspective can keep training and discipline the priority that they need to be. Coach Simmons emphasized that my running goals and training need to be the last thing on my mind before I go to bed and the first thing I think about in the morning. In reading what other top athletes have done before big breakthroughs it's clear that huge performances don't happen by accident and there are fifteen weeks to the USATF Outdoor Championships. I'm excited about Nate moving in and on Monday night we had a good talk about the focus and dedication that we are willing to share to reach our individual goals. I also recently exchanged emails with an old friend who I've fallen out of touch with over the last two years. Dr. Rick Kattouf (of is going to get on board and help me focus on nutrition and fueling my body for maximum recovery and improved performance. Here's an excerpt from one of his emails where we were talking about taking my 5k performance to the next level. "I think nutrition for any athlete can help to bridge that gap. Food is a drug; it is the most powerful, legal, drug available. It is the ultimate performance enhancer, and it is legal!" As my good friend Mark Misch says, if you can do the little things right to improve performance by only 1 or 2% without even changing training you can improve your 5k time by 8 to 15 seconds. Having said all of that, the race in Boston wasn't anything to be disappointed with but it's no more than a starting point. It certainly did a lot to refocus my energies and help me decide what I need to do to improve. I'm dealing with some injury issues and as long as I can continue to train at a high level and feel relatively healthy I'm confident that the lesson learned indoors will lead to big things during the outdoor season.


Blogger drlove said...

Blake this is not a good article; it's Great!
It's enjoyable to me, to see a very intelligent, researched, and focused approach.

7:17 PM


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