“I thought the race could be won in the last kilometers in the park. Every hill I ran in training I ran to gain an extra step in the park.”

Kenyan runner Paul Tergat after outsprinting defending champion South African Hendrick Ramaala to win the New York Marathon by less than a second, the closest margin of victory in the race’s history.

DR. G’s COMMENTS: Tergat’s victory demonstrates the power and effectiveness of “perfect practice.” It’s not how much time you put into your training that counts. It’s always WHAT you put into that time. It’s HOW you train that ultimately makes the difference between your success and failure, between you reaching your goals or falling short. When you commit yourself to train mentally, physically and emotionally the quality of your practices goes way up. That is, when you can directly connect what you are doing today in practice with that ultimate performance that you’re training for in the future, then and only then will you get the very most out of your session. Don’t just practice. Don’t just go through the motions. Understand WHY you’re doing what you’re doing today and how it will help you when the chips are on the line. “Perfect practice” is that which prepares you for the mental, physical and emotional challenges that you are sure to face during the competition. “Perfect practice” closely simulates the conditions that you must master in order to emerge victorious. Be smart about your training. Always train with this question in the back of your mind. “How is what I’m doing today and right now going to help me when I’m in that big competition?”

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