Dick Beardsley: Recently I ran a 2:08:53 marathon with primarily a road-racing background. Would it improve my chances of making the 1984 Olympic marathon team if I partake in training and racing the 10,000 metres on the track? If I get the speed down in 10,000 metres, will I run a faster marathon?1

Sri Chinmoy: Definitely you will improve your marathon time if you run 10,000 metres on the track. Running is a physical subject, a mental subject, a philosophical subject and a subject of the Beyond. In the physical aspect, nobody will be able to tell you more than you already know. In the mental aspect, if you become used to running shorter distances, it can really help you.

When you are running a marathon, mentally try to feel that you are running only thirteen miles rather than twenty-six miles. If you can convince the mind of this fact, and if the mind can convince the body that it is running only thirteen miles and not twenty-six miles, then it will be a great advantage for you. This is not a mental hallucination. A new discovery has dawned in the mind and the mind is passing it along to the body. Both the mind and the body will have to act together in order to reach the ultimate goal.

In the philosophical aspect, you have to feel that your problems are as insignificant as ants and pay no attention to them. You have had problems with cows, dogs, puddles and road hazards of all kinds. You should take these problems philosophically. Although these things are extremely unfortunate and discouraging for a great runner like you, you have to feel that they are almost part and parcel of a runner's life. If you can see them in this way, then when discouragement and temporary lack of enthusiasm attack you, you can easily, successfully and fruitfully overcome these obstacles on the way to your sublime goal.

Finally, if you can think that through your running you are doing something that has a direct connection with the ever-transcending Beyond, which is far beyond the domain of the earth-bound physical mind, then you will get tremendous inspiration. This inspiration embodies added strength, added joy and an added sense of satisfaction. In your case, if you can consciously think of another world — which we call 'the Beyond' — if you can add another vista or dimension to your already surprising approach to running, then you are bound to be more successful.

In your case, it seems to me that mentally you are not confident of your fastest speed. Either because of your own personal experience or because of ideas that others have thrust upon you, you feel that you do not possess extraordinary speed — specially towards the end of a race when speed is badly required.

To get rid of this absurd notion for good, twice a week try to run between thirty and fifty metres as fast as possible, at intervals of a minute or even longer, for twenty-five or thirty consecutive times. Your mind will all of a sudden be fully awakened to a new discovery of your own speed, which has all along been unnoticed, if not ignored. This mental discovery will help you considerably.

Kindly try this new method and the other suggestions that I have offered. Although you are a great runner, you still have not yet reached your highest potential. Your world-surprising potential is ahead of you and beckoning you.

  1. RS 4. Dick Beardsley won the Grandma's Marathon in Minnesota in 1980 in 2:09:36 and the London Marathon, a tie, in 2:11. His best marathon time was in 1982 when he duelled with Alberto Salazar in Boston. Ahead of Salazar through the latter stages of the race, Dick traded surges and then sprints during the last mile. Finally, Salazar won out with a 2:08:52 to 2:08:53 for Dick, whose time was the fourth fastest ever recorded for the marathon and the fastest non-winning time in history.

Sri Chinmoy, Run and smile, smile and run.First published by Agni Press in 2000.

This is the 1343rd book that Sri Chinmoy has written since he came to the West, in 1964.


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by Sri Chinmoy
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