Win the Ugly

This blog is an excerpt from our input into The Marathon Marcus blog. Marcus and I have been working together for the last few months in preparation for his sub-3 hour performance in Berlin and we enjoy being able to share some of that journey.


• When our training gets tough and we miss our pace target for a rep/one session;

• It’s raining outside and have a long run to complete;

• On race day we are on pace but feeling it physically.

All these examples plus many more individual to you are moments when we have a battle. I call this winning the ugly. How are you going to win this ugly moment when you’re hurting physically and temporarily demoralised mentally?

Here is one powerful skill you can build up and commit to for those moments. Simon Sinek in his now famous video explains that knowing what to do, or how we are going to do it isn’t enough. And actually by flipping the priority of these, and then beginning with why we are doing this, we are able to tap into and energise through a deeper connection to that moment.

For example (Marcus comments):

What – run a sub-3 hour marathon in Berlin;

How – follow the training plan as designed by my running coach, work with performance mindset coach and commit to new habits;

Why – one of my why’s is starting from a 4:55 and working down to a 3:05 marathon, I want to see what my best looks like.

Once we have all 3, we start with why, follow with how, and finish with what.

Each individual will have a different set of why’s, and this is YOUR power to energise your performance in those ugly moments so you can #stayinthefight and #wintheugly.

Marcus: This is really useful, having a plan in place is vital.

Something I’ve learned is that you need to have a pocket full of why’s, to dig out of tough moments.

For Sunday’s run which didn’t go to plan, it went from focusing on my why’s, to just putting one foot in front of the other. My focus was on my tight hamstrings, which was hard to shake off.

However these rough experiences give me fuel in the marathon, knowing that I’ve got through tough moments in training.

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