Giving Yourself Grace

My last race before this year’s Boston Marathon didn’t go as well as I had hoped. While I was disappointed to not have run as well as I had planned I realize that half marathon fitness is very different than marathon fitness and that for a variety of reasons I was not as fresh and good as I could have been.

After frustrating races I am learning to give myself more grace. Grace to not run a personal record or even run well at all, just as long as I did my very best with all the energy I had on that day and in my preparations. It takes the pressure off to think that I can only do my very best. One of my favorite lines from one of my all-time favorite movies‘, “Chariots of Fire” says “you can’t put in what God left out.” While some might see this as a defeatist way of thinking I don’t see it that way at all. When I think about drawing out everything God has put in me then it takes away the pressure of needing to accomplish a certain feet and puts the emphasis on doing my very best every time out no matter if I am in tenth or first. Sure it may be easier to draw out your best stuff when you are vying for the win rather than when you are having an off day but at the end of it all if your goal is to get everything out of yourself on race day and you do that then you can look at yourself at the end of the day and be proud. Results will come and go but the character it takes to do your very best independent of your results brings lasting joy and satisfaction. Moreover, not being so hard on yourself and giving yourself grace is an important part of living with joy.

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13 Comments

  1. Posted March 27, 2011 at 4:02 pm | Permalink

    A bad dress rehearsal means a great performance. You’ll do great at Boston!

  2. Posted March 27, 2011 at 4:21 pm | Permalink

    I love reading your posts and wish you all the best in Boston. I wake up every day saying a prayer to be able to do my best on that day-no matter what. I battle many illnesses so some days are rougher than others; but just to accomplish my workout-even slow, is a victory. Thank you for being an inspiration

  3. Rick Devaney
    Posted March 27, 2011 at 4:35 pm | Permalink

    Character is not defined when we are on top; but instead when we are struggling to get back on top. Ryan, you have been challenged many times in the past, and you came back. Many great runners have had the same experience, especailly before the Olympics. Somehow, I feel there is less pressure on you, and you will run a wonderful race. I hope to see you at the Expo. Good luck and God Bless.
    Rick

    • Rick Devaney
      Posted April 24, 2011 at 10:39 am | Permalink

      Ryan, I wanted to meet you at the Expo, but I was only able to get to Boston late on Sunday. I had a copy of your book and was hoping to get your autograph. You did great at Boston. Somehow, I (honestly) just knew you would have an excellent comeback from your recent races. There appeared to be less pressure, and your strategy was very smart. You (once again) earned the respect of the top marathoners in the world. I still hope to meet you one day… I wish you the very best luck to you and Sara, and God Bless both of you in your future.

  4. Eugene Robinson
    Posted March 27, 2011 at 6:38 pm | Permalink

    Well said Ryan! Couldn’t agree more.
    May God bless your efforts!

  5. Felicia
    Posted March 27, 2011 at 10:20 pm | Permalink

    Thanks for posting this today! This struck a cord with me, as it was very similar thoughts that transformed what started out today as a horrendous run into the best long run I’ve had in a while. Thank you – very inspiring!

  6. Becky
    Posted March 28, 2011 at 1:13 pm | Permalink

    What a remarkable perspectative. I ran into you in the hotel elevator after the half marathon this January. As always, you were able to discuss the race with such pose and grace even though it had to have been so frustrating. As I read this entry, I understand how you can process your races. I just wish I could duplicate it. Best of luck in Boston – many prayers!

  7. Posted March 28, 2011 at 9:07 pm | Permalink

    Great thoughts about giving it your all but allowing yourself to not always be at your personal best. People need to here this message more often. There is great satisfaction in taking time to just enjoy the workout.

  8. chris
    Posted March 29, 2011 at 7:58 am | Permalink

    I really enjoy reading blogs because I feel closer to the sport of running. While it’s true that knowing you can only try your best takes off a ton of pressure in those big races, I really would like to know about all the other stresses that go into your days leading up to the race. Like is it difficult with the travel interruptions? Do the hotels ever mess up your room dates, do plane delays ruin your sleeping schedule. How do you know where to go running while traveling and you’ve never been to a particular place? Do you have stomach troubles during the race that you have to work through?

    Also, I am reading your blog because I am interested in the sport of running. I know religion is a part of your life and good to dovetail a few things in here and there, but I think that most fans are first and foremost running fans, not bible fans. Just remember your audience, thanks!

    • kevin
      Posted March 29, 2011 at 9:01 am | Permalink

      “God made me fast and when I run, I feel His pleasure”…another memorable line from Chariots of Fire. Thanks for your healthy perspective. I needed to hear it this morning as I am still kind of bummed about my own race last weekend (also a half). I am blessed to just be able to get out there and compete at all.

    • Nos
      Posted March 29, 2011 at 11:23 am | Permalink

      @chris:

      I noticed you wrote, “remember your audience,” which is interesting. Its Ryan’s blog, so shouldn’t he write about the things that matter to him? Thats the point of a blog! Not trying to knock you, just pointing that out.

  9. Nos
    Posted March 29, 2011 at 11:21 am | Permalink

    Good luck at Boston man… Like you said, the results will come and go, just a matter of time before you have another great race.

  10. Posted March 30, 2011 at 5:29 pm | Permalink

    Ryan– I just found your blog and am so glad! You have such wise words to say. I am a new runner, and by new I mean I am running my FIRST ever race in 10 days. I am glad I found your blog and look forward to reading all your posts to come! I started a blog when I started running… http://myfirstyearofrunning.blogspot.com/ … I’m writing about my journey to a 1/2 marathon. Hopefully I’ll do one by my 26th birthday! …but am starting with a 5K next weekend. :)
    Thanks for the inspiration, encouragement and wisdom!
    Danielle

6 Trackbacks

  1. [...] Ryan Hall Takes the Pressure Off Hall, who'll be doing the Boston Marathon on April 18, was just 21st in the recent NYC Half-Marathon; the race "didn’t go as well as I had hoped," he acknowledges. But Hall suggests "half marathon fitness is very different than marathon fitness" and reveals "after frustrating races I am learning to give myself more grace. Grace to not run a personal record or even run well at all, just as long as I did my very best with all the energy I had on that day and in my preparations." He explains "when I think about drawing out everything God has put in me then it takes away the pressure of needing to accomplish a certain feat and puts the emphasis on doing my very best every time out no matter if I am in tenth or first …. Results will come and go but the character it takes to do your very best independent of your results brings lasting joy and satisfaction." (photo of Ryan Hall by Victah Sailer) More [...]

  2. [...] Ryan Hall Takes the Pressure Off Hall, who'll be doing the Boston Marathon on April 18, was just 21st in the recent NYC Half-Marathon; the race "didn’t go as well as I had hoped," he acknowledges. But Hall suggests "half marathon fitness is very different than marathon fitness" and reveals "after frustrating races I am learning to give myself more grace. Grace to not run a personal record or even run well at all, just as long as I did my very best with all the energy I had on that day and in my preparations." He explains "when I think about drawing out everything God has put in me then it takes away the pressure of needing to accomplish a certain feat and puts the emphasis on doing my very best every time out no matter if I am in tenth or first …. Results will come and go but the character it takes to do your very best independent of your results brings lasting joy and satisfaction." (photo of Ryan Hall by Victah Sailer) More [...]

  3. [...] Ryan Hall blogs about learning to run with [...]

  4. [...] Ryan Hall Takes the Pressure Off Hall, who'll be doing the Boston Marathon on April 18, was just 21st in the recent NYC Half-Marathon; the race "didn’t go as well as I had hoped," he acknowledges. But Hall suggests "half marathon fitness is very different than marathon fitness" and reveals "after frustrating races I am learning to give myself more grace. Grace to not run a personal record or even run well at all, just as long as I did my very best with all the energy I had on that day and in my preparations." He explains "when I think about drawing out everything God has put in me then it takes away the pressure of needing to accomplish a certain feat and puts the emphasis on doing my very best every time out no matter if I am in tenth or first …. Results will come and go but the character it takes to do your very best independent of your results brings lasting joy and satisfaction." (photo of Ryan Hall by Victah Sailer) More [...]

  5. [...] Ryan Hall Takes the Pressure Off Hall, who'll be doing the Boston Marathon on April 18, was just 21st in the recent NYC Half-Marathon; the race "didn’t go as well as I had hoped," he acknowledges. But Hall suggests "half-marathon fitness is very different than marathon fitness" and reveals "after frustrating races I am learning to give myself more grace. Grace to not run a personal record or even run well at all, just as long as I did my very best with all the energy I had on that day and in my preparations." He explains "when I think about drawing out everything God has put in me then it takes away the pressure of needing to accomplish a certain feat and puts the emphasis on doing my very best every time out no matter if I am in 10th or first…Results will come and go but the character it takes to do your very best independent of your results brings lasting joy and satisfaction." (photo of Ryan Hall by Victah Sailer) More [...]

  6. [...] Give yourself grace. There were plenty of weeks when I didn’t get all my mileage in. I didn’t let that stop me from not dwelling on my failures, moving on, and trying again next week. [...]

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