Goal Setting Training Advice

Written by Paul Wolf

Life is a marathon, not a sprint. Use your energy wisely and success will be yours, says Olympic marathon champ Frank Shorter.

When Olympic marathon legend Frank Shorter trumpets the value of knowing your goals, he's got the goods to back up his words. He took the gold medal at the Munich Games in `72 and the silver in 1976.

Now consider his main rival, Bill Rodgers, the other icon of the American running boom. Shorter and Rodgers were expected to have a big showdown at the Montreal Games in `76.

Rodgers was looking good. He had become a famous figure on the fast-evolving weekly road racing circuit and a winner of the Boston and New York Marathons.

But a foot injury slowed Rodgers to a distressing 40th place at the '76 Games. And it was Shorter who seized the silver.

Peaking for the big one is the main doctrine of Shorter's personal Zen of running. It is also a prescription for life: Set a long-term goal. Work toward that goal by mixing easy and hard efforts, and visualize the successful outcome often.

These principles and others helped him win the marathon in Munich. They also helped him succeed as a sportswear entrepreneur, TV commentator and author.

"I believe the easy-hard approach works for just about everything, because if you go hard all of the time, that leads to over-training in athletics, and burnout in anything else," says Shorter, 52.

Shorter is the only American to win Olympic gold in the 26.2-mile road race. He was a gawky 24-year-old Yale student when he won the race and became the face and feet of the running boom.

"I had this idea I would do the Olympic thing and then move onto something responsible," he says, not missing the irony.

He would pursue a law degree or run his own business, for example. Shorter has succeeded at both. The key to his success, whether winning races or business deals, has been his philosophy that your immediate goals should correspond with your long-term goals.

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