“The Most Critical Ingredient”

Thoughts on Preparation by Dave McGillivray

by Dave McGillivray, Race Director of the Boston Marathon

I’ve always said, “if you are not prepared for everything, you are not prepared for anything.”  To me, preparation may not always guarantee success, but without preparation, you will always be guaranteed failure.  By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.

Whether I am training to run in a marathon or I am planning to direct one, preparation is arguably the most critical ingredient I always focus on.   I’ve always believed that to set a realistic goal, no matter what it is, one must “earn the right” to do it.  And, the way you earn the right is to commit to the preparation necessary and to accept the sacrifices involved.  In preparing for a race, just getting to the starting line totally prepared can be more important than even reaching the finish line.

As a race director, I never want to have to put out fires…I want to prevent them.   People might look like heroes in putting out a fire, but the way I look at it is due to their lack of preparation they probably caused the fire to begin with!

Winning is the science of being totally prepared.  Being prepared also means being confident.   And being confident is vital especially when you are the leader.  As a runner, knowing that you have prepared well gives you the confidence to go out at a pace that is not reckless but that will get you to the finish line as fast as you are capable of doing that day. 

Someone who is prepared makes no excuses.  There are no shortcuts. You’ve tried all the options in your training and preparations and have determined what is best for you and you go into race day confident that you got this.    

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