Therefore, the primary objective of training for every competitive runner should be to develop confidence in her ability to achieve her race goals. It is much easier for a runner to know that she has trained in a way that makes her confident that she can perform at the level of her aspirations than to know that she has stimulated the physiological adaptations that will enable her to perform at this level. The most advanced runners are led by their sense of confidence, whether they think about it this way or not. They are very aware of their confidence level, and they instinctively make decisions that promise to increase their confidence and mute their doubt. This is what Dathan Ritzenhein did in deciding to switch coaches and turn his competitive focus from the marathon back to the track for a while after a disappointing performance in the 2009 London Marathon, in which he finished 11th in a time of 2:10:00. Of the thought process that preceded those decisions, he said: I just realized one day that I wasn’t as tough as I used to be. I used to be known for that when I was racing and training. I still would work hard, but I didn’t have the edge. It wasn’t that I was unhappy doing it, but I didn’t have the real spark and passion that I used to have.
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