With a coaching career spanning over eighteen years, endurance coach Steven Macklin knows a thing or two about how runners and athletes need to prepare mentally and physically to perform at their best.

In this first of a two part series, the coach at Athletics Ireland shares his insights to highlight the key things needed to be a successful runner.

Here is Steven Macklin’s rundown on the things successful runners and athletes do.

1. Attitude

It’s about being organised & prepared, punctual, displaying positive body language, resilience, belief, work ethic and bringing your best self to each and every day.

2. It’s all about relationships

Runners and athletes connect with your coach, be open & honest, show them a great work ethic, commit to the plan and watch the benefits unfold.

3. Enjoy what you do!

It is a sport and the central tenant to success is enjoying it, being passionate and loving what you do, which is running.

4. Patience and consistency

Success in endurance sport is reliant on patience, consistency in training and racing, while also staying injury and illness free. Do everything you can to make these things happen.

5. Build the right foundations

Do not neglect the foundations of athletic development; stability, mobility, balance, coordination, agility, speed, strength, skill of running, quality of movement etc. If you can start developing these aspects of running first it will put you in a better place to handle a certain amount of volume & intensity at a later stage.

6. It comes down to you

Accountability is like rain, we need it but nobody likes getting wet. You are accountable for the training, race performances and especially your lifestyle choices.

7. Don’t be afraid to fail

Sometimes a poor workout or race is not always a negative; this is where you learn and it is what keeps us grounded. It provides a platform to get better at what you do.

8. Embrace the uncomfortable

Get comfortable with being uncomfortable, get out of your comfort zone. Live on the edge of chaos, this is where the magic happens!

9. Repeat, repeat and repeat

You must be prepared for to do the basics right over and over again. Sometimes enduring the mundane for long periods of time.

Having the ability to endure the mundane and the repetitive nature of running, is fundamental to long term success.

10. Know your limits

Train hard but not too hard. Use technology but don’t rely on it, the best feedback you will get it from your own body, listen to it because it’s rarely wrong. Also, it’s not always about doing more things right, but doing fewer things wrong, Have variety in your training!

11. Adaptability

During a race, you can’t predict what is going to happen. The ability to adapt to any situation during training or racing, and cultivating this by keeping yourself uncomfortable at times during training.

12. Look inwards

Self-reflection is key to foster learning and make improvements going forward. Reflect on your lifestyle choices, your training and racing, your diet and nutrition, motivations, and make changes where needed.

13. Don’t be afraid to change

If you are not responding positively to a certain type of training, then change it. All runners and athletes have different physiological and psychological make ups, so different types of training works for some and not for others.

14. No short cuts

There will be many road blocks and highs & lows along the journey but if you are willing to continue on the road to be the best you can be, there are big performances always around the corner with the right dedication and hard work.

15. Belief

Believe in yourself, believe in the plan you have set, believe in your coach, and believe that anything is possible with the right mindset. Take risks and go all in!

In the second instalment of the series, Macklin shares insights and advice tailored for coaches of runners and endurances athletes.