Uncharted Territory



There comes a certain part of the journey where you must throw caution to the wind and go for it. It’s the moment where analysis is paralizing. No longer is it time to keep weighing options. You must commit and go for it, get your ass handed to you, reflect, and repeat.

Outdoor Track has begun and I’ve cued my athletes to be aggressive and assertive. One woman in particular ate it hard. A huge positive split.

She put herself in a position to deal with her fear; that she isn’t strong enough to hold onto certain paces.

Other coaches may look at it and think that I cued her incorrectly, that she did poorly but, I disagree.

The next day she went out and ran a mark that qualifiers her for a big championship meet and she did that by not backing off or backing down.

Every one of my athletes who ran two events messed up in their first race. Chalk it to rust, nerves, poor cueing, etc. So, one would think I should back off and tell them to be conservative.


They all ran PR’s or collegiate bests in event 2.

It’s scary for some not to have firm plans except to go big or go home. How else do you challenge your limits? Our education system rewards those who toe the line and follow. When is the ideal time to be different? To stand out? Ok, so you lead the race and finished last…this time. While you were out there you ran 1/2 to 3/4s of the race at a pace that would could win a conference or a big championships or make you an All-American. Now, maybe you don’t do it this year but, you begin to condition the mind that this is my expectation…this effort, this pace is what I want you, the brain and body, to be able to withstand and I’m going to keep doing it till you, the brain and body, just do what I want.

Maybe a bit stubborn but…

How can this transcend into your job, your dreams, you relationships?

How do you venture out into the unknown; that uncharted territory?

I have ideas and theories but, I’m curious to what you think so please comment.

5 thoughts on “Uncharted Territory

  1. Sheri Aceto says:

    when it comes to my training, I love the unkown. I am driven by people that are better then me. I want to be just as good, if not better, then them. My competitive edge forces me to venture out and either get a win or take an ass whooping. Either way, I like the edge so I just go for it………..like dive in head first. Reckless? Maybe! Fearless? Most definitely…………through winning and losing I learn what to do next time. 🙂

    • justinHARRIS says:

      Thanks for commenting Sheri. It’s certainly a fine line between “diving head first” and being ignorant or naive however, its easier to pull back than it is to push forward. How do you handle this a mother?

  2. Sheri Aceto says:

    Also some of my best races were when I went out with the attitude that I would just let whatever happen happen that day. I didnt put the presser on myself to kill it and at the end I had my best time. I think when you take off the pressure it allows someone do what’s natural as opposed to trying to impress you which makes it unnatural. Maybe it comes from the years of competing gymnastics and having to impress judges, coaches and whoever else that I see racing differently. Like don’t go totaly hands off, but definitely allow for enough room to make one’s own mistakes……not the mistakes you think they should make.

  3. I think this is a very good post Justin. I know that when I was running at a more competitive level that the biggest thing that held me back was the mind games I would play with myself about “being smart” , hitting perfect splits, not having enough later in the race. Just simply dropping all that and going for it

    • justinHARRIS says:

      Thanks for clicking on the link and for commenting Chris. I remember reading somewhere something along the lines of don’t help others bring you down by thinking that way. We often catastrophize and think worse case scenarios and how often do what we vision happen? What if we spent that time visualizing a positive or at least a more realistic outcome? What do you think would have helped you over come that over-thinking look at it in the “rear-view mirror” now that you’re a bit removed from college?

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