Failure is an option


Nothing ventured, nothing gained, as the saying goes.

Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.
— Winston Churchill

It’s telling, don’t you think, that Winston Churchill wrote the words above — because in his times, the stakes were so high — failure could have led to the total loss of our freedom, and far worse.

It’s scary to try new things
Like running, for those of us who not only never ran, but actively did everything we could to avoid running. Toeing the line at our first race is so intimidating: what if they laugh at me? What if I’m last (hint: no one really cares if you’re last, and if you are — so what? You’re doing something that’s great for your mind and body and spirit).

A trail run. A Ragnar. A tough mudder. A marathon. An ultra. At some point, no doubt, any of those things struck fear in your heart. I know running a trail race was definitely out of my comfort zone.

And sometimes you’ll fail
Things don’t always go as planned. Maybe you didn’t meet your goals (or even come anywhere close). Maybe you never got to start. Maybe you weren’t able to finish.

Failure is simply the opportunity to begin again, this time more intelligently.
— Henry Ford

And you will grow with every failure
Failure isn’t fun, of course, but there is no growth without failure. And failure can be a great teacher. I learned to carry at least some water with me from hot races that didn’t always have water (or cups) at aid stations.

I learned that it’s far better to seek help from professionals when there’s a niggle close to a race, rather than stop running and just pray it will somehow go away, after a disastrous, painful half. I learned that my body really likes flat and fast courses with my awesome PR at Panama City Beach Half (read about it here).

Don’t get me wrong — never go out there believing you will fail. Where the mind goes, the body follows. Just remember that if you do — and you will — it’s not the end of the world. You’ll be a better runner for it in the “long run”.


This week I am also joining up with Running on Happy, Suzlyfe, Crazy Running Girl, and Coach Debbie Runs each week for the Coaches’ Corner linkup

coachescornerTalk to me:

What failures have you had?

What did you learn from them?

18 thoughts on “Failure is an option

  1. Sometimes failure is in the eye of the beholder. I’ve had a couple DFLs at figure skating competitions, even when I brought my very best. Very disappointing but not really a failure, IMO.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. My failures have been non-running ones and I hope I have learned from them.

    As far as running, any time, I cross the finish line (no matter what my time is or how awful I feel), I consider is a SUCCESS not a failure.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I’m a go-with-the-flow type of girl, adapt and improvise. But I think fail is a harsh word… more like, things didn’t go as planned, so the plan changed. Know what I mean? Good luck this weekend!!

    Liked by 2 people

  4. This is really great advice. Failure teaches us so many lessons, and it’s important to have that frame of reference in mind. Every race isn’t going to be a PR! Setbacks are all part of this crazy running journey.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I think you are totally right- we shouldn’t expect to fail, but we need to know its ok if we do. Every time I have failed at something theres been a lesson to be learned.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I have to tell you — upon reading your title, I said, “WHAT?!” But then I read the post and yes, I agree. Failure can be a great teacher. Always something to learn!

    Liked by 1 person

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