Running Decisions

How not to be your own worst enemy. Have you ever been your own worst enemy? Without knowing you… of course you have. Because you have been involved in all your major decisions.

runners’ over 40 Running Decisions

Hi, my name is Heiko and thanks for joining me on Advanced Endurance Coaching, where we are all about improving the mind…

especially for those runners’ over 40.

It’s here where I want to share you with you my passion for training and developing mental skills, whether you are a runner looking to develop consistency, or you want to go for a new personal record, this is the place for you… and if you are a bit sceptic, hang in there as there might just be that nugget, that piece of information, that clue, that missing link… you have been searching for.

Oh who am I ,,,, not only have I been a passionate runner for about 35 years, be it trails, a 10K or a multiday run challenge. Here in my coaching it’s all about using legal methods to improve your mental capacity. Running is a mental sport requiring unbelievable self-discipline, motivation and drive.

I remember so often I would not want to attend the training sessions at school. My decision. I would find all types of excuses not to train, but of course I wanted to be part of the team and race…. But the coach had drilled us, you don’t train today Monday’s wins… and, you won’t be on the track team. Simple.

Maybe it’s easier talking about someone else. That friend, family member that’s not taking his running seriously enough. You can see that she has speed, that he has power. That colleague you run with who never joins the training runs, when it says hills or interval training… and is hoping for a Personal Best that you can sense will never come.

I went down a YouTube rabbit hole this morning. I had been there before, just stopped short jumping down…. but somehow on that given day, I wasn’t in the mood or it didn’t catch my attention enough. I was searching for a how to video, and you know on the right YouTube suggests or coming up next… there it was….. “Marathon Cheaters”.

Which lead to a site…. The site is called marathon investigations, and well best is you take a look at it. It uncovers runner that have cheated on their marathons.

Now you might think hmm…. Sound boring, why or who might be interested in that… but remember I said it’s a rabbit hole… and actually the site contains amazing stories.

The person behind the site, or who runs the site, usually receives tip offs, and then uses an algorithm, and of course investigates whatever data he can find on the various social media channels.

Now it seems absolutely crazy for me to imagine someone would cheat, take a decision, plan to cut a part of the course, run less, cheat.

First, I thought it would contain content as in “a shorter distance was run, due to an error”. Like here where, I live close to my home town, there is a famous marathon, which also used to invite some elite runners to participate in the marathon. And one year, there was a mistake by the lead vehicles. Somehow the runners, all came heading back towards the start line which caused massive confusion. But no, that’s not what this is about… the runners’ mentioned on this site, plain well cheated. They had a plan to run less miles and get a medal without putting in the effort. And the marathons they cheated in are pretty big names.

And the weird part is, some of the runners’ have obviously cheated, so OBVIOUS if you just look at their previous times for similar distances. If a runner I train and coach… for example, has spent the last 4 years getting his marathon time from a 3:50 down to a 3:23, then suddenly in one year he gets a 2:30… wow, incredible. Well that’s exactly what happens.

And this cheating comes in all shapes and sizes.

Don’t just think it some silly Hill-Billy who cheats, nope at one of the Berlin marathon a diplomat, took a cab or subway …. Got a impressive time, but not how he should have. It happens at Triathlons, at Ultras, and at many marathon events. Perhaps even one where you have participated.

Is there a pattern… well yes… most runners when confronted with clear evidence that they ran too few miles, they planned it, and deny any wrong doing, even of confronted with undeniable evidence … just don’t admit it.

One marathon runner, actually a top athlete was spotted riding a bicycle during the marathon, cheating… she was spotted…. thereby of course taking a short cut, and saving time.

She crossed the line, and when questioned, what you think she said… “it was her twin sister”. She didn’t have twin nor a sister.

There was one famous triathlete who admitted cheating (due to anxiety) and I mean give credit to that, issued a apology and admitted to everything.

But the rest of the cheaters… even one guy who finished third (after taking a bus with spectators) and then because he realized his time would be a bit too fast, or whatever you think when you are hiding behind a tree during a marathon, to prepare for his third place finish, who then even gave a interview… I watched it, the interview… it was good. Classic stuff. I couldn’t make this up I promise.

Conclusion…. Runners’ who don’t hold themselves accountable, is it not? It’s a terrible decision. And I am sure it didn’t just come out of nowhere. Seems like there must have been a lot going on in their minds that lead to such a foolish thing to do. Sad because everyone’s time is individual, according to his or her abilities and training, work effort put it.

Anyway, before I get to carried away here. After all its easy to spot that error in others isn’t it. Laugh about it, joke about it a bit sort of like I am doing…. But tell me. When was the last time you cheated? Or lied to yourself? Or took some steps into a direction that will lead to not doing what you could do.

No of course I am not saying you did what those runners on marathon investigations did. I mean something else… let me explain.

Perhaps when you planned your running calendar for the year, and as you looked at the races, the distances, you perhaps settled for less. I am not going to do that marathon, it is too difficult, or it took a lot out of me, I’d rather sign up for the half. Rather than doing a super fast 5K, let me sign up and do a slow 10K. Reason that the 10K is further, will feel better if I explain and justify it to myself.


You may be selected a slower finish time to have a more comfortable batch, to not be under pressure. You know, just in case you got injured during the season, or just, because you don’t want to hold yourself accountable.

Sounds familiar doesn’t it?

Accountability. I mean who is checking whether you really are training to the best of your ability? Who knows whether you did that Fartlek or interval track session or went on a long slow run instead?

And then suddenly you are a slow long-distance runner. And you struggle to hit your times, because as we all grow older, we need to train differently in order to develop the speed. Changing your running routine, improving areas that you neglected in the past… and you know what they are. Maybe the last hill training you did was years back, and that comfortable regular 5K you run feels good enough. No, it’s not cheating, of course… but it is keeping you from your best potential.

And that is the question… what your potential at this stage of your life is, in this season of your life. What is the next logical step in your development as a runner?

If this causes some tension inside of you. If this makes you want to cringe… maybe you just planned to go on a comfy run right now… then pay attention.

Remember you (and me) are quick to spot this in others, not raising their standards, not going after their potential…. even though, you are doing that yourself. It’s easier to spot that in other runners is it not?

And that is where you are on the way to become your own worst enemy.

Because we all have the potential to become our own worst enemy or the best runner.

A single bad decision is always the first step towards becoming your own worst enemy.


And it started with one small decision. Every habit begins with a first time.

Every pattern begins with a first time. And every run begins with a first step. Or not. So, we all have the potential to become our own worst enemy if we are not aware of it.

And suddenly your running isn’t what it used to be, and you start hiding behind your age. Hiding behind excuses.

No time, other commitments, past records, past achievements. And you live your days reflecting about your history. Talking about “that best run”, or “that personal best”.

Rather than shaping the future. That’s what you need to inspire, that’s what you need to continue to develop. Because this forward motion thinking, this will lead to inquiry, to curiosity, and inspire you to set new goals. These ideas and you know this, they don’t usually come sitting at a desk, usually they come when you are out there running.

Bhaaaam yes, I want to get a sub 50 for a 10K… I will improve my half marathon by 5 minutes…..

That inspiration, that intrinsic motivation… you need to keep it going, like Zig Ziglar said… motivation is a bit like a bath… it’s good to take one regularly.

And that’s what I want to stir in you today. Building some strong habits that will ensure your best run times are yet to come. Your next best run adventure is still out there. And this will ensure you will never ever underestimate yourself as a runner. And if you know how to do this in your running, oh my goodness, that will open new doors for you.

Now just imagine for a second… you have preemptive habits that serve you… so you don’t even become close to being own worst enemy.

It is simple… you already have it inside of you: you need to pay attention to the tension.

Whenever you are considering any option and causes sense of tension. Stop and pay attention. Look those runners that cheated, they felt a tension somewhere, they know wrong from right, they just have ignored their values, and override their feeling for a tension

I felt that tension a few years ago. I had completed a big dream, since childhood actually. Getting my back to back medal at the Comrades marathon. After that, I was planning my next running adventures, and they lacked any serious ambitions. What a waste of running time that would have been. And thank goodness I did listen to that tension inside of me. I set some even bigger goals, but that is for another episode….

Please, you, dear listener… Don’t start selling yourself those reasons, or those excuses. Heiko you really don’t understand.. sure I don’t understand.. I don’t need to understand, I want you to become the best runner you can be irrelevant of your past successes. Start listening. Don’t sell yourself on a less than challenging idea, don’t lie to yourself and then choose to believe that settling for less is the right thing to do.

The moment you are making things up… hit pause. We rarely have to sell our self on a good idea. If you know it is the wise thing to do.

Never limit where running can take you because each effort, each struggle or fight you have, has the potential for great story, and great adventure. And that my friend is what makes your best running experience.

Ok, thank you for listening to this podcast.. I really appreciate it…you could have chosen anyone to listen to and gave me a listen… thanks! Please give the show a 5 Star rating, it will help other that are looking for a show with this content find it. Find more tips like this on or in our online mental running tool course. A in-depth 4 hour video course, along with a easy-to-read guide to understanding mental techniques for runners’ in depth. It comes, along with our R.E.S.E.T.® branded coaching certification.

My name is Heiko, thanks and remember… take it easy.

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