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Three Words That Matter Most When Racing And Training

Before you even crossed the finish line, you were disappointed with your race performance. The day is ruined. The months of training and waking up early to run in the cold seem like a waste. You beat yourself up and exclaim, “I’m not cut out to be a runner anyway!” You swear off running forever as you toss your running shoes into the donation pile that you plan to drop off later in the week at the Salvation Army.

Failure can bring out the worst in us and might even cause us to temporarily give up from time to time. In the long run (pun intended) failure exposes our unknown weaknesses and will eventually lead to success. When success finally does occur, it may not be out on the pavement, but it might happen in another area of our life as a result of the lesson learned. I mean that’s why we run, right? To improve our lives.

If you ever find yourself in a space where you are frustrated with your workout, race or something else that you attempted to do outside of running, ask yourself this: “Did I try my best?”

It’s funny how thoughts or phrases we hear or say float into our consciousness just when we need them the most. When I was a Girls on the Run coach, a phrase I uttered over and over again to girls ages 7-10 who were unsure of their capabilities or fearful of not being able to do something was, “Try your best”.

These three words are so simple, but pack a big punch. Saying this phrase out loud numerous times has allowed it to seep in the deepest parts of my brain. It has allowed me to accept that my best, no matter how bad the outcome, is actually enough. In fact, my best is all I can give.

This phrase has changed how I accept my failures both in life and on the pavement. It has become my simple barometer. If I tried my best, I can accept that what I did in that given moment was in fact good enough.

Race Pace Jess

Race Pace Jess

Jess Underhill fell in love with running during a rough patch in life, a time period most people just refer to as middle school. Twenty-six years later that first runner's high she experienced continues to shape nearly every aspect of her life, including her career. She has a Master's Degree in Exercise Science and Health Promotion, is graduate of the Institute for Integrative Nutrition and is a UESCA Certified Run Coach. Most recently Jess launched Race Pace Run Club, a free virtual run club that welcomes runners of all levels from coast to coast and also meets in-person in NYC. She is an ambassador for Sparkly Soul Headbands