Every pro runner dreams of being one of the greats — of leaving their permanent mark on the record books and taking home hardware. But while every runner shares these dreams, only the very best can make it happen.
What does it really take to be the best? Talent isn’t enough. Elite coaching isn’t enough. The strictest training isn’t enough. There has to be something else – something powerful that drives you.
You have to believe. Believe that running is what you were put on this earth to do. Believe that this is your destiny. And you have to hold on to that belief no matter how many obstacles life throws in your path.
Boris Berian has this belief. And when he found himself working at a fast food restaurant without a team or a coach and training alone after his shifts, it was all he had to hold onto.
“I didn’t have anybody pushing me, anybody giving me positive energy,” Boris said. “It was all just discipline from myself. I had workouts that I had saved from college, so I based my training on that and did everything on my own.”
As an athlete who thrives on seeing positive energy and positive progress, Boris found this harsh reality difficult to accept.
“I didn’t know for sure what I could do, so sometimes I was thinking ‘what if I can’t get myself to that level? What if this was all just a waste of time?’ Some days were really tough like that, but I told myself I still have to try. I can’t just give up.”
Stuck in an impossible situation, Boris refused to accept that his career was over. Running was it for him, and he couldn’t walk away.
“I had a feeling deep in my gut,” Boris said. “I couldn’t give up running just yet. All through high school, my coaches got me to a pretty good level and it completely surprised me. My first year in college, I had another huge breakout, and knowing what I could do if I really pushed myself…I kept on holding onto that.”
The crazy thing about belief? It’s contagious. The coaches of Big Bear Track Club, based in California, had noticed Boris’ collegiate career and were curious where the 800m phenom had been hiding. So they came calling.
“It was a huge relief,” Boris said. “Back then, I didn’t know there were as many running groups as there are. That’s why I never really reached out to anyone. So when there was a coach and team that were interested in me, I was really excited and really relieved.”
For Boris, being back on a team instantly returned joy to the sport he loved.
By Travelle Gaines
For this week’s training segment with athletic trainer Travelle Gaines we chatted about the topic of motivation. Motivation and goal setting is something that has been very important to Gaines throughout his career, and he looks to pass that on to others. Below are some thoughts Gaines had on the topic.
TT: Trent Tetzlaff, Eastbay Copywriter
TG: Travelle Gaines, Professional Athletic Trainer
TT: How would you define motivation?
TG: Motivation, to me, is what changes your behavior about something — it drives your actions to succeed.
TT: How were you motivated as a young athlete?
TG: We all are motivated in our own ways. For me, growing up and being around sports all the time made me want to participate in those sports and either get a scholarship or become a pro. Not knowing any better at the time, my motivation was that they made plenty of money.
TT: Can an athlete make it in their sport without clear motivation of some sort?
TG: You can’t tell me that getting up at 5 a.m. every single morning to train, eat, work out, and go to class are things done leisurely or without purpose. There must be something deep within that drives those acts. Often I ask the kids that come into our Athletic Gaines facilities, “What’s Your Why?” Their responses vary, but every successful athlete is able to define their motivation — that someone or something — that pushes them to success.
TT: Why is becoming motivated and setting goals important for any athlete?
TG: Motivation is very important; it impacts your approach and essentially keeps you working towards something. Without it, it’s much more likely you’ll quit short of your goals. Remembering your why behind your actions and setting goals — short and long term — will keep you waking up at 5 a.m. for workouts, staying late after practice to run more sprints, or doing more reps than required in the weight room.
TT: How would you tell a young athlete today to find motivation and to stay on that track to success?
TG: First of all, Think of something that you enjoy doing or do often (i.e. working, lifting weights, catching a football). Secondly, think about the possibilities of becoming the best you can at it, and where it could lead you (i.e. making varsity, getting a collegiate scholarship, making the pros). Lastly, Set goals to reach those heights and constantly work toward them (i.e. wake up at 5 a.m. for workouts, do 25 push-ups every night, run 10 sprints a day).
TT: Any final words of wisdom for the young athlete out there?
TG: Once you find what really motivates you, stay consistent and work hard until you ultimately become successful.