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What Got You Here Won’t Get You There

What Got You Here Won’t Get You There (and Maybe Not Get You Here Again)

On May 4th, I will be running my third marathon. My first was in October 2011 and second in May 2012. I had satisfied my marathon thirst and said that I would only run another one if Barb wanted to run her second. Last September, she became thirsty. 

#1: 4 h. 29 m. 46 s.

Running is a great sport. For those who have a competitive spirit, the goal is continuous improvement and the measure is to beat your personal best time. When you do, the feeling is tremendous. 

I ran my first marathon when I was writing the first draft of Change with Confidence. Running 26.2 miles. Twice the distance of my longest run seemed like an appropriate stretch goal. 

I created a detailed training plan and stuck to it. My big mistake was exceeding it, which gave me shin splints four weeks before the race. I could barely run for two and a half weeks.

The run was tough. My legs started cramping around 9 miles in and they seized at the 15 mile mark. I had experienced slight cramping in my longest training runs, but nothing like this. I got to the finish line but far later than I had planned.

#2: 4 h. 8 m. 26 s.

Two days after the race, I started planning my second marathon that was six months away. This time I was joined by my wife Barb and friend Tim. I learned from my mistake and kept to my training plan. At the starting line I was injury free and confident about my performance.  

I followed my race plan, running ’10 and 1′ intervals and not starting too quickly. To my surprise and horror, my legs started to spasm at the same distances. I relived the progressive decline of my legs, just like watching a movie for the second time – a scary one. 

The good news is that I finished the marathon and beat my first marathon time by over 21 minutes.

This time around, I have completely overhauled how I run and train. I have been:

  • Changing my stride by shortening my steps and lessening the impact on my feet and legs
  •  Running continuously versus ’10 and 1′ intervals – I lost too much time walking when my legs were strong
  • Limiting weekly training miles to 30 versus 45 – was I overtaxing them before? 
  • Running more preparation races prior to the marathon (7 versus 4)
  • Seeing a physiotherapist two weeks before the race to discuss prevention and management strategies and tactics
  • Managing what I eat, especially three days prior to the race – high carbohydrates, low fibre and protein

With 23 days to go, my practise races are a little slower than two years ago, but my form is better. This will be a good test of Marshal Goldsmith’s adage, “What got you here won’t get you there.” The “there” for me is a faster time and stronger legs throughout the race. Either of them will be an improvement and both will be tremendous.


What Got You Here Won’t Get You There

I am really enjoying presenting at conferences. Attendees are interested in my topics and are willing participants in dialogues. They also have a host of good and bad experiences around change that adds flavour and relevance to the sessions.

Marshall Goldsmith

Beyond the thrill of presenting, I have the opportunity to learn from other presenters. I was keen to see Marshall Goldsmith open the HRANS conference a week ago. He was voted the #1 leadership thinker and #7 business thinker in the world at the Thinkers 50 ceremony sponsored by the Harvard Business Review. He is also a million-selling author and editor of 31 books. His list of accomplishment is massive.

Marshall was sharing concepts from his latest book, What Got You Here Won’t Get You There. I like the title, which reminds me of the saying, “If you keep doing the same things you will get the same results”; you need new thinking, actions and behaviours to get to the next level.

I’m In Very Good Company

I sat up front to get the most out of his talk. Marshall was a fun speaker. He said that he is a Buddhist and gives everything away that he creates on his website. Marshall explained, “We all will be equally dead, so might as well. The world becomes a better place because of what we do.” I liked him before he started speaking on his topic.

Here is what I learned from his presentation style:

  • Laugh at your jokes, it makes them funnier
  • Engage attendees in an activity every 20 minutes, even if it is a group of over 150 people!
  • Illustrate points with as many personal life examples as professional ones
  • Be generous  ̶  it shows
  • Invite people to choose one idea they believe will help them and reinforce the need to do it to get the benefit
  • Leave the audience with three key messages

After Marshall’s talk, I approached him and thanked him for his advice. I asked him if anyone had come up to him after a talk to offer their help to him with no strings attached. Marshall said he would have to think about that but he didn’t think so. That was my one idea from his session and I am now sending him an email with my offer of help. No strings attached.


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