12 Steps to Power Your Running Performance
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- Learn about long distance running techniques and skills and apply these to your business and your personal lives.
- Empower your mental strength and learn how to train and focus your mind to achieve your goals.
- This course does not require any previous skills or materials
"Ultramarathoner Trains You The Same Way She Did With Israeli Military"
The "Ultra Leadership Method" Is The Coaching Technique for Setting Ultra Goals & Achieving Them.
The program is founded and taught by Ash, who is a former military & special forces trainer, ultra-marathoner champion of the 125 mile, speaker and a published author.
The Ultra.Training course is designed to give participants goals-based management and self- leadership tools using the structured "12 Steps to Power Performance" Method that is a proven formula for success.
In this course, we focus on endurance & fitness goals track:
♦ FITNESS & ENDURANCE GOALS TRACK
Using self-management sports processes, in each session our users face a physical challenge and implement the coping strategies that will lead them to achieve their required goal in our 12 week series.
Do you know that many successful CEOs throughout the world run a marathon?
Setting long-term goals, self-discipline, accurate planning, training, and more - all teach successful people about the strengths of their character.
This online program is designed to lead individuals along the same track that long-distance runners follow.
This course will implement the following sets of skills:
♦ The setting of ideal- realistic goals
♦ Performance assessment, planning and strategy
♦ Practical use of existing and required resources
Through a personal, physical and unique experience, this course will give participants the practical tools they need for succeeding in their personal & professional long- term goals.
In addition, you will be taught how to:
♦ Use exercise & training to FOCUS YOUR MIND ON ACHIEVING GOALS.
♦ Increase your stamina & strength and USE THIS NEW POWER TO WORK SMARTER & FASTER.
♦ Then, use the progress you have made and what you've learned from exercising & running as a
METAPHOR THAT YOU APPLY TO IMPROVING BOTH YOUR BUSINESS LIFE & YOUR PERSONAL LIFE.
- Students who would like improve their physical ability and wellness
- Students who would like to empower their mind to achieve goals and to better overcome challenges
Running 125 miles
What do you remember from the moments just before the race began?
‘I remember that I was very excited and nervous, and I didn’t really know what was going on around me. The course was a 200-km course. It consists of 6 rounds, each of which was a 33-km run. The course included some very challenging terrain, with uphill, with downhills, with gravel, with roman rocks, with sand, and dirt. The course was a little harsh. And you had to run it again and again and again and again... And as I ran, I went through the entire spectrum of emotions: from excitement, happiness, hope, optimism and love all the way to the complete opposite… despair, crisis, weakness, depression and anger.
The most difficult part was starting the second night, because there is something about that darkness, that aloneness, that gloominess, which suddenly makes you feel even more tired and lonely. After so many hours of being awake and on my feet, I suddenly felt as if I wasn’t there anymore, that something in me just ascended towards the sky, and that only my body was left there. It’s quite scary, because suddenly, you are confronted with your worst fears.’
What do you mean by 'Your worst fears?'
‘To see yourself in the worst condition you’ve ever been in, in crises. You meet yourself at profoundly deep lows, when you’re feeling as low as possible, and it’s the fear of having great regrets.’
Great regrets, how?
‘My greatest regret would be if I quit, and not completely coped with the challenge, because I’ve done all this, I’ve come this far, and now I’m just going to quit? I’m just going to give up? It’s anger, like, “You’re such a loser,” and “Don’t give up”.’
So, when did you start running?
‘I started running as a teenager. The truth is, I wasn’t all that great at it, but I wanted to prove that I was good at something, and at some point, I realized that when I don’t “give in” to my quitting thoughts in running, then something good also happens in my life off the track. In other words, once, my dreams seemed unattainable and today I see things differently. And that’s what it’s all about. That’s why I teach people how to run.’
(125 miles race documentary movie by Mika Orr)
Step 1 - Setting a Goal
"A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step!"
- Lao Tzu
"Nothing can stop anyone, if they are determined enough, and want it badly enough, and are aware of the price of their choices, and that they are responsible for everything they choose to do.
There are two types of goals: The first is a goal derived from social requirements and goals other people expect us to achieve, and then there are goals that are your own goals, which you chose and you generate.
The more we learn how to set ourselves goals stemming from our inner selves, goals we believe in and want, when we realize these goals, it does us good, so I think we should adopt this, we should adopt this approach.
The moment we make a decision, we’re already halfway there. In other words, the moment I sign up for a race, at least half the work has been done, because the moment we set ourselves a target we start moving forward towards it.
The target spurs me into action. To reach the ultimate goal in a workout,
I mark closer goals, pole by pole, lamp post by lamp post and I move forward from goal to goal.Uphill training is a Sisyphean task, it increases the heartrate, and is particularly taxing on the muscles, but every uphill has a downhill, and I take advantage of it for loosening up and resting, for taking a break. In the long term, it makes no difference how far I ran, or how fast I ran, or how strong I ran, what matters is completing the distance that I said I could."
Step 2 - Situation Assessment
"It is good to have an end to journey toward: but it is the journey that matters, in the end"
- Ursula K. Le Guin
To illustrate the first four steps to success, think about Google maps ‘Modus Operandi’. First, we enter ‘Where to’ - the destination. Next, we enter ‘Where from’ - the current location. Finally - ‘Calculating Route’ - that is the plan how to overcome the gap from the starting point to the finish point. Now, let’s take as an example the idea of running a marathon.
A person that runs five miles every day, signs up to a marathon competition. His goal is to run 26 miles, but currently he can only run 5 miles. This means that he must make a training plan or an action plan, which would take him through the best path.
Understanding the starting point, is as important as understating the final point we want to reach. In running it is simple - assessing the situation by fitness or a running test. Figuring out our situation assessment, would help us to answer the "Realistic" characteristic from the first step (SMART model) - is our goal realistic? Also, this step of assessing the situation would guide us to build an action plan – that contains the necessary steps we should take to achieve the goal.
Finally, if we concluded that the goal is not realistic because of its time- frame or measurement, based on our situation assessment, we shall re-set the original goal and adapt it to the current situation regards our ability. it is nevertheless essential to be flexible to changes, and conduct the necessary adjustments if needed.
SWOT is an acronym which in regards to our personal or business goal will help us assess the situation - which includes four aspects:
S – Strength
W – Weakness
O – Opportunity
T - Threat
SWOT model is used as a tool for assessment of the situation prior to decision making. It emerged in the business and organizational fields. It contains two internal dimension - strengths and weaknesses, and two external dimension - opportunities and threats.
Each of internal and external dimension contains a positive value and a negative value. The positive values are strengths and opportunities, and the negative values are threats and weaknesses, and all should be taken into consideration, to set a responsible and thoughtful decision.
Ideal Realistic Goals
If the goal attainment process is too difficult in relation to its desired value, people would usually prone to giving up on that goal. To keep motivation at a high level, it is necessary to find the proper quantity of "challenge" (not too easy, but not too challenging). One of the motivation sources for goal commitment is the confidence that the goal is achievable. Moreover, when people see and control their advancement toward the goal, and can identify the "end" of the process, the level of certainty and commitment to the process increases.
When people train in any form of sports, they usually get an immediate feedback for their work, and they also receive a suitable outcome for their efforts. For example, a person that is out of shape and suddenly starts to train in running, will notice a fast and immediate peak in the progress and improvement of his training, usually in a short-term period of training. For example; from running two km to for km, then six km, eight km, and so forth. With each time, he trains there will be a noticeable improvement in the running distance and the running speed or stamina. The sportive process is reflected in these micro achievements - these incremental small "rewards".
When we receive an immediate feedback and especially a positive improvement, it increases the sense of motivation and desire to achieve the goal.
The term "Ideal – realistic goal" is used to define the "right" setting of goals. If the goal is only realistic, for example - evaluating and performing thirty hops, or only ideal - evaluating ninety hops but performing sixty hops, then we have not set the right goal for ourselves. In the latter case, it would work only if we purposely chose a "Stretch Goal" strategy.
Stretch goals are meant to be challenging goals, beyond the capability of the current performance level of an individual. This type of goal requires individuals to push themselves beyond their limits, by tremendous efforts and endeavors. One should bear in mind that any stretch goal would be much greater than the actual potential, thus, even without achieving 100% of it, will still extend the individual's ability beyond their previous limitations.
Making a Plan
"You do not plan to fail, you fail to plan!"
If you’ve ever seen a training program for marathon preparation - you probably were very surprised. The training plans are full of small details and meticulous instructions, regarding various components and aspects for each day, week and month toward the marathon. Usually the training plan starts nine to six months before the competition day. Details such as; distance, time, speed, pace, breaks, intervals, sets, rest, exercises and more, are filled in training charts with definite calculated numbers.
Marathon training is probably the exact same discipline that successful entrepreneurs bring to their business. Running a marathon is not something that you can do without the proper training, and running a successful business does not happen by chance.
Following such a training program and sticking with it for weeks and months on daily basis, with great persistence and effort toward a single event that lasts for only a few hours, without any special reward, prepares long distance runners to accomplish their business tasks - these vary from short term tasks to long term tasks and plans.
This emphasizes the importance of a well-thought-out plan. Building a plan must be one of the most important steps on the way to success, and we want to invest our time and work in a plan that will take us to the place we want to get to.
As in the example from step number 2 of the google map application, it calculates the various optional routes offered to reach the destination. You have several choices before you, that differ in their efficiency, for example; choosing between the shorter route or longer route, the faster route or slower route.
Similarly, let us look at the 80/20 rule for efficient performance and planning:
The 80/20 rule, also known as the Pareto principle, was suggested by management thinker Joseph M. Juran. It was named after the Italian economist Vilfredo Pareto, who observed that 80% of income in Italy was received by 20% of the Italian population. The assumption is that most of the results in any situation are determined by a small number of causes. In business, the rule is used to help managers identify and determine which operating factors are most important and should receive the most attention, based on an efficient use of resources.
The same is if we put enough amount of time in the right planning, we would anticipate better results and outcomes. Think about time for planning as a good investment for the future performance. The plan is aimed to generate the foundation and framework of our work. An action plan is a plan that incorporates the necessary steps we should take.
Action plan should address the following elements:
1. Goal (where we want to go)
2. Current situation (where we start at)
3. Resources (What do we have)
4. Constraints (what limits us)
The purpose of an action plan is to clarify what resources are required to reach the goal, formulate a timeline for when specific tasks need to be completed and determine what resources are required. An action plan should answer the following three questions: Where am I now? Where do I want to go? What steps will I take to get there?
1. Where am I now? (Condition check)
It is imperative to establish a baseline so you know where you currently are. Without this information, how from one ultramarathon to the other will you know whether you made any progress? This might be relatively easy to answer if, for example, you know you weigh a certain amount and want to be ten pounds lighter. But this question can also be more reflective if you’re defining foundational elements such as your mission and guiding principles. Either way, it is critical to identify and acknowledge this reality as a first step.
2. Where do I want to go? (Goal)
By answering this question, you are working to define your destination. To help with this step, ask yourself, “What will it look like in the future? Where are we headed? What is the future we want to create?” Answering these questions should be fun because no one really knows what the future will look like. So be creative. Be adventurous. Be daring. Over the last step we described how to set the personal right goal.
3. What steps will I take to get there? (Plan)
Answering this question can require a bit more time, because defining how and when you’ll reach your destination is really the meat of your plan. Here is where you’ll write goals and outline the specific activities you’ll take in order to reach your destination. An effective goal clearly states what you want to accomplish, when you want to accomplish it, how you’re going to do it and who is going to be responsible. Each goal should be specific and measurable.
Step 4 Task
1.Design an action plan that incorporates the necessary steps to achieve your goal.
2.Take into consideration your resources and limitations.
3.Write down the operational, strategic, tactical and contingency plans.
When we think about big goals, dreams and a point of change - unconsciously we are starting to get nervous and we withdraw from the pursuit of the changes. It is a common biological response. According the organizational theorist Maasaki Inai (and based on the Japanese Kaizen philosophy); when we think about the great things that can happen to us, we get alarmed and shift to a defensive "flight or fight" stance. Even without noticing this occurrence, unconsciously, our motivation decreases and we ignore the thought of change, the more so when taking an action which propels change. This usually happens when we step out of our comfort zone.
"Stress of change"
The comfort zone is a behavioral state in which a person operates in an anxiety-neutral condition, using a limited set of behaviors to deliver a steady level of performance, usually without a sense of risk. Change is not a single time event; it is an ongoing life event.
Every time a modification of behavior or performance is requested, then a new change process begins and a new coping cycle commences as well. Carnell's coping cycle is a valuable approach to understanding how people deal and cope with change. It illustrates the five main stages that people usually tend to go through during a behavioral change;
Stage 1 - "Denial" When stepping outside the comfort zone, there is a common feeling of anxiety, stress, accompanied with the resignation of leaving the current comfort zone. There is an increase of will to preserve the status quo and being happy with it.
Stage 2 - "Resistance" There is a tendency to resist new things, and thus, there is an increase in clinging to practicing ancient customs and beliefs, as well as a desire to reject the change and try to prove that is not working or simply wrong.
Stage 3 - "Abandonment" At this stage there is a development which is focused on the present rather than the past, and a beginning of accepting and welcoming change. For example, people say - "I will probably have to give it a chance." This is the first phase of adaptation.
Stage 4 - "Adapting" At this stage there is acceptance to a new situation, and a sense of confidence in it. Most of the energy previously channeled to negative areas of resistance are now invigorated with an encouragement to settle the new situation and behavior.
Stage 5 "Internalization" This is the final stage, which provides us with a newly formed comfort zone. This is the phase with the highest sense of acceptance and adapting a new kind of behavior and new habits.
One great technique for conquering this innate resistance to change as well as better coping with “big” goals, is to break the target down to milestones, or “stepping stones”. This technique is being taught by the Ultra Leadership Method in the training sessions through a process of visualization.
For example, we give our mentees of beginner level a task of accomplishing a long running distance, and then we ask them to mark their "micro goals" on the way, such as; electricity poles, street lights, trees, bridges and so forth. Each time they pass one target, they pick the next one, and so forth - until they reach their destination.
Personally, to accomplish all my ultramarathon races, I always found it more effective to focus on the closest targets that I can see and reach, like the next lap or the stopping stations. This helped me to continue my movement toward a seemingly endless goal. Otherwise, I am sure I would have broken down mentally, if I had to do without these empowering techniques.
According to the Dominican university “goal setting” research in the educational field, dividing a long-term task into short-term goals (sub-goals) would both keep the student motivation high as well as get work done towards the ultimate goal. One of the reasons for that is the received feedback on the long goal attainment process. Students, and people in general, need to know their progress toward their goals, especially when achieving to accomplish procedural goals.
A previous “Mental Representation of Progress” research which has been conducted has also shown that the way people perceive the level of their progress on a goal will have a profound impact on their motivation. For example, in the pursuit of goals with specific endpoints, people are motivated by the progress that needs to be made to achieve goal attainment and especially gain motivational boost as they move closer to the endpoint of their pursuit. By reducing the amount of uncertainty, we are more encouraged to keep progressing.
- Martin Luther King
"At the center of your being you have the answer; you know who you are and you know what you want"
- Lao Tzu
Empowered people know their limits, and have high self – awareness – which is a key quality in order to reach success. Generally, personal empowerment is about looking at who you are and becoming more aware of yourself as a unique individual.
'few people are capable of expressing with equanimity opinions which differ from the prejudices of their social environment. Most people are even capable of forming such opinions.’
- Albert Einstein
Understanding what motivates us and others in decision making, goals pursuit and passion, is a major part in achieving set goals, and can be mainly attributed to a high level of awareness and consciousness. Empowered people know their limits, and have a high sense of self-awareness, which is a key quality for attaining success. Personal empowerment is about looking at who you are and becoming more aware of yourself as a unique individual.
The investment theory of intelligence proposes that interest is what drives people to invest their time and energy in developing skills and base of knowledge. Interest precedes the development of talent. It turns out that motivation is the reason that people develop talent in the first place. Interest and drive are main components of “grit”.
The psychologist Angela Duckworth defines this grit as 'having passion and perseverance toward long term goals’. Her research shows that above and beyond intelligence and aptitude, gritty people - by their interest, focus and drive - achieve higher performance. “Persistence is incredibly important”. Of course, natural talent also matters, but once you have a pool of candidates above the threshold of necessary potential, grit is a factor that predicts how close they get to achieving their potential.'
"Don't handicap your children by making their lives easy"
- Robert A. Heinlein
By facing daily challenges, or as a way of life, we develop and build confidence. Confidence acts as one of the greatest motivators and most powerful limitations-eliminator for those who want to change their behavior and be more empowered.
So, what kind of challenges shall be chosen? It is essential to choose challenges that are meaningful for us, or to find some meaning in the challenge, for example, finding goals that suit our beliefs and values. As Dr. Gail Matthews from the Dominican University research found; goals should be meaningful and valuable for students to achieve their goals. If students don’t perceive them as meaningful or valued, their engagement with the goal attainment progress will diminish.
It has been also researched that challenge is particularly important for the enjoyment of intrinsically motivated and goal oriented activities, as well as giving a true feeling of competence. This relates to the “grit” quality described in the last step, and is directly linked to success, as is defined by Tony Robbins in his book - "Unlimited Power":
‘Often we get caught in the mental trap of seeing enormously successful people and thinking they are where they are because they have some special gift. Yet a closer look shows that the greatest gift that extraordinarily successful people have over the average person is to get themselves to act. It’s a “gift” that any of us can develop within ourselves.’
Step 7 Task
1.What are your beliefs and values regarding your goal?
2.What are the internal limiting beliefs you may have regarding your goal?
3.Define the major challenges you are facing to achieve your goal and the coping strategies you use.
To Watch The Training Video:
Coping with difficulties
"The definition of an ultramarathon is crisis management, since you don’t run into just one or two walls, rather into wall after wall after wall.
You break through every time, and you learn a great deal, a great deal about yourself, that you can do a lot better than you think, and it’s empowering.
If I don’t get through that wall, if I don’t climb over it, I anticipate the feeling I’ll have afterwards, and I am honest with myself, and I know I will disappoint myself, especially myself,forget about other people.
And I don’t like the feeling of failure I get, that’s why at the moment of truth, I try to give it my all.
In order to deal with the difficulties of training, I adopt a technique or style, which enables me to go on without stopping. I decrease my stride, and reduce my speed to a light jog, lift up my head and look ahead.
I count the rounds, the curves, the uphill, and time myself.
Running in dunes and in sand, is by definition difficult. The ground is unstable and even soft, and it requires a greater physical effort from us.
Training on sand means leaving the comfort zone, and it’s important to create diversity, and run in challenging routes conditions.
Lots of runners says, "I train because of the feeling
I get afterwards.” You need to keep in mind that even though it’s hard now, later will be fun, later will be wonderful, later I’ll feel content. And I know that we often want things right here and right now. Immediate gratification.
And it doesn’t work that way in life. It really doesn’t. So you need to be constantly aware that later will be even better."
"In the beginner's mind there are many possibilities, but in the expert's mind there are few"
- Shunryu Suzuki
Although it is not impossible to achieve long term goals, such as; losing weight or succeeding in sports, even without a high level of disciplines, we undoubtedly can always gain greater results by practice and training and through discipline. Self-discipline is a habit, a practice, a philosophy and a way of live. All successful men and women are highly disciplined in the important work that they do. According to an article by Angela L. Duckworth and Martin E.P. Seligman in the Psychological Science journal; self-discipline is a better predictor of academic success than even IQ. All great successes in life are preceded by long, sustained periods of focused effort on a single goal, the most important goal, with the determination to stick with it until it is fulfilled.
Throughout history, we find that every man or woman, who achieved anything lasting and worthwhile, had engaged in long, often unappreciated hours, weeks, months and even years of concentrated, disciplined work, in a single specific direction. Once you have mastered the ability to postpone gratification, the ability to discipline yourself to keep your attention focused on the most important task ahead of you, there is virtually no goal that you cannot accomplish and no task that you cannot complete.
‘People who have attained excellence follow a consistent path to success’
- Tony Robbins
To Watch The Training Video:
"When you’re at your most difficult point, when you are at a crossroads and you have to decide whether to continue or back down, that is when the real test is. Running long distances, is also a kind of education. It is an anthology of life lessons, of knowing how to set yourself a goal, knowing how to plan how to achieve that goal.
Persevering, fine tuning your self-discipline. And even the little things –when we are tired and have no energy, and it’s hot or cold or raining, we get out there, because we’ve set ourselves a goal and that is part of that discipline, making rules for yourself and sticking with them, and coping with the difficulty.
Like when it gets hard in the middle of a session, and you want to give up, and then you say, “No, I’m not stopping, I’m not giving up.”
In order to generate this kind of discipline, you have to remind yourself that it is something that you really want, that it’s important to us, that there was a reason we chose it, and the moment we identify the true reason we chose the goal we need to start working.
One of the physical exercises which is also a mental exercise, is defining a goal which I know will be challenging for me, and which will make the session more difficult for me. It could be for example, if I’m standing in front of a many stairs, then I can choose to set myself the goal of for example: “I am going to run here for fifteen minutes straight,” and go up and down, up and down, up and down, and I know that after 7 or 8 minutes I’ll be dead beat tired,
But I don’t give up, and I keep going, and I keep going up and down, and I repeat it multiple times, until it becomes automatic, and it doesn’t require much thought, because you’re already there, you’re immersed in it, and all you need is to see that time is moving forward, and that you’re fine, that it will be over soon."
Through physical and endurance training, we can adapt and improve coping strategies and tools to overcome challenges and difficulties. Here are three physical tools and four mental tools that are instructed by The Ultra Leadership Method:
When entering the world of monotonous running, there is not much stimulation to distract the physical effort like rapid heart rate, sweating and huffing. Those physiological symptoms often cause mental stress or anxiety, which are translated to the subconscious as danger signs. Therefore, you should adapt a monotonous breathing technique to relax the physiological symptoms that stress the mental symptom.
2. ‘Small Steps’ jogging
Adapting a light technique - preserving energy and continuity of movement, are helpful in difficult training moments. Rather than stopping or quitting, we can find alternative or “smoother” solutions. If the situation is very stressful and impedes the level of efficiency and performance, we should maintain the right amount of volume to have enough energy to accomplish the task or goal.
‘The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step’
- Chinese Proverb
3. ‘Head up’, looking forward
Usually during a hard workout, the body is very tired and automatically and unconsciously we tend to bow our head down, looking down at the floor. At these moments, we should pay attention to that and raise our chin up, for two main reasons:
One reason is a physiological reason - when the chin is held high, more oxygen enters the lungs, helping the aerobic exercising. The second reason is a mental one - head down gives us a pessimistic sensation, but when we look up and straight forward we can see the "light at the end of the tunnel", and we will be more goal-oriented and positive. This motivation is important because the willpower is essential to accomplish the challenge.
4. Internal dialogue
Many of us know the negative thought patterns and self-sabotaging fallacies that come up during a tough exercise or hard times. "I cannot do it anymore," "It's not for me" etc. To deal with these, we shall adapt a tool of internal dialogue, which, negates the negative thoughts with a positive feedback - we shall retort to them in an optimistic manner; “Yes, I can!”, “I love it!”.
5. Positive reinforcement
Self-encouragement is important regarding our decision making. I highly recommend that when dealing with crisis - do not be embarrassed, tell yourself words of positive reinforcement - ‘I am strong’, "I am able". The positive language and feedback, as well as self-awareness to what we feel, is critical to our success.
Visualization, or imagining, is one of the most significant tools. One of the hardest things about running long distances or trying to achieve long term goals, is that we don't see the “finish line” - cognitively and metaphorically. I usually imagine encouraging things such as the finish line, or the good feeling that I get after I finish a competition. Imagination helps build a sense of reality.
7. Breaking-down the Target
One of the biggest challenges of pursuing big goals is that they seem so distant and impossible, that we may want to give up many times during the process, sometimes even before trying. Therefore, you should take the big goal and break it down to milestones (as discussed in step 5 - Milestones), which can be seen realistically and mentally. In that way, during a long running track - without seeing the end, you can mark targets on the way, such as; the closest street light, electricity pole, trees, intersections, bridges and more. Whenever concentrating on the upcoming next and micro-goal, it helps reaching there first. Once you reach it, you set a new micro goal. As in "small steps, jog," you should think about the small steps, rather than concentrating on the final point.