Tag Archives: training

When the Result is More Than the Results

This is the picture. This one. It’s not the picture of Eliud Kipchoge crossing the finish line. It’s not the picture of the clock stopped at 2 hours and 25 seconds.

Even though that run was the single greatest effort I have ever witnessed…it will be this picture of the Pacers running and dancing down the homestretch to join Kipchoge, Lelisa Desisa, and Zersenay Tadese at the finish line that will forever remind me why I run.

And it will be the Pacers being the first to cross the starting line and never the finish line that will remind me why I coach.

It will be the Pacers, instead of recovering and preparing for their next shift, leaving the cover of their tent to line the fence and cheer as loudly as they could that will remind me why I am a fan.

It will be the the Pacers telling the Breaking2 team that even though their duties were done they would get back on the track if any of the runners needed them and that they would run until they couldn’t run anymore that will remind me why I love this damn sport so very much.

None of these Pacers will be listed in the results. But the result of Breaking2 was impossible without them.

So, this is the one. This picture here represents what Breaking2 meant to me.Because it is a picture of celebration. Not one based on nationality, tribe, or training group. Not a celebration of a result or a time on a clock.

This is a celebration of what happens when we are selfless instead of selfish. This picture celebrates competing with each other instead of against each other and it celebrates the risking of great failure instead of the rewarding of easy success.

This picture represents why we run. Because not only are we all meant to be runners…we are all meant to be Pacers.


You Only Remember What You Already Know

I went to a high school Track & Field meet last weekend. I needed to. Because I was tired. And I was worn out.  So, I went to the meet.

It was a beautiful evening. But it could have been terrible weather. It wouldn’t have mattered. I would have been able to get what I needed… a reminder.

If you find yourself beat up, torn apart, knocked down by life or work or your running just go to a Track & Field meet. If you lack inspiration or can’t find motivation go to a Track & Field meet. 

What you’ll find… is what you expect. You won’t be surprised. You won’t be shocked. You’ll see acts of sportsmanship all over the track and the field. And you will hear cheering from the stands, the track, the infield, the paddock. You’ll watch competition everywhere – real and pure and honest competition.

And you’ll see fear get its ass beaten every time the gun goes off.

That’s at every Track & Field Meet. 

Every. Single. One.

And as you walk away after that final finisher ends their final lap of their final race you’ll still be tired. You will still be worn out. But you’ll know you can get back on the line. Deep down you already knew that though.

You just needed to be reminded. 

A Little epic

My run today stunk. I was tired when I started, and once my body warmed up and adjusted to the run… well, I was warmed up, adjusted and still tired. Sure, by the end, I was happy I’d run. But I was most happy to just be done with the run.

Sometimes a run is just going to suck. For me, that sometimes was today. I know that I wasn’t running a marathon. I wasn’t pushing myself to the brink like the Eliud Kipchoge, Lelia Desisa, and Zersenay Tadese of Breaking2 will.  The run today wasn’t even the run I wanted to do. It was just the run I could do. But believe me when I tell you that today’s effort seemed epic to me.

I could have cut the run short. I could have skipped it completely. But I didn’t. I did the run and I had to break through some barriers along the way. To me, that’s what makes a run epic. Every run is a barrier broken. That invisible starting line we cross with our first stride every day? It’s a barrier.  Somedays it’s a pretty easy one to run through. Other days, that first stride is the most difficult of the entire run.

We need to remember that not all barriers are sky high. The most difficult barriers don’t have to involve racetracks in Italy and EPIC moon shot attempts at crazy times over grueling distances. Some barriers are way…down…low. Right at the start. And if you don’t look out, it’s the little barriers that trip you up.

So maybe the run I got through today – a run that started and ended crappy – doesn’t deserve to be called EPIC in all caps. But that doesn’t really matter to me. Because all caps or not, EPIC means the same thing as epic. And that’s what brings us all together as runners.

You. Me. And yes, Eliud, Lelisa and Zerseney in Italy pushing themselves to make history by Breaking2.

We are all meant to be runners.

Epic ones.


Growing Up. Not Growing Old.

Last week I hit the jackpot. I got to spend some time with some young adults. Strike that. I’d rather not use that word “adults” here. I was lucky to spend some time with kids. And these were no ordinary kids. You know what? Strike that word “ordinary” too. I don’t believe there is any such thing as an ordinary kid. I was lucky enough to spend time with some extraordinary kids.

These kids have dedicated a part of their lives to entertain, inspire and motivate other kids. Some of them sing. Some of them dance. Some of them run, play football, soccer, gymnastics and any number of other sports. Some of them open up cool things up and show you what’s inside. They make others smile, get moving, get out. And so many kids today need something or someone in their lives that makes them happy. These kids are that something, that someone.

They came out to the Michael Johnson Track here at Nike’s WHQ. It was raining. It’s always raining here. They were all jet lagged. And they were hungry. Kids are always hungry. They were tired. Tours and walking and listening and more walking will eventually even tire a kid out. But here they were at the track being introduced to a Coach that wanted them to run.

And you know happened? Did they complain or make excuses? Did they ask for shortcuts or whine? Did they say they couldn’t or wouldn’t do it? Nope. They’re kids. So they said “let’s roll”. And when I said in return “get ready to race the Rio Olympic Gold Medalist Matt Centrowitz” did they back down? Nope.

They formed a relay, lined up, ran their hearts out, cheered for each other & took him down. These kids reminded me that all that is great, brave, honorable and pure about us lives within our youth. And we all have those younger versions of ourselves alive within us still. We just need to smile, get moving, get out. We just need to be on more relays together, run our hearts out, cheer for each other, and we too can do impossible things.

We can grow up and not grow old.

When the victorious tribe left the Michael Johnson Track it was still raining and the clouds still blanketed the sky. But I swear the day seemed brighter…and so did the future.


When Running Away is the Bravest Thing To Do

I was at NXN – the Nike Cross Country National Championships – with my team.
It was the night before the race.
I saw Joan Benoit Samuelson coming down the stairs.
I thought “I need to make my move. Screw all these kids. They can get in line behind me.”
I broke into a jog.
I’m a firm believer in thanking the people who inspired me. And, shaking their hand.
“Hi, I’m Chris Bennett. I made a video of you.”
My slow run combined with the weird video comment may have set off some internal alarm bells with JBS.
I thought, “at best I’m creepy and at worst I can expect a restraining order delivered to me before the race tomorrow.”
Luckily, JBS is used to people coming up to her and saying or trying to say thank you.
Unfazed, shook my hand and asked my name again
(Probably for the detective she would be talking to later I thought)
“You made The First Gold, right?”
She’d seen the video I made!
(I made videos on YouTube for my HS athletes hoping they would become fans of the sport.)
“Yes. That one! It’s about your ’84 Olympics…Gold Medal…the Marathon…in LA.”
Speaking coherently was becoming a problem.
“Thank you for making that.”
I was losing consciousness but I knew I had something to do before I did.
One of my heroes just said “thank you” to me.
But I was the one who was supposed to say thank you!
OK, rewind…Joan Benoit Samuelson was my first running hero.
And it wasn’t because she did anything superhuman.
I’m not that inspired by the idea of “superhuman”.
I’m inspired by super humans.
JBS was my hero because she took the lead 4 miles into that ’84 Olympic Marathon.
And no one went with her. 22 miles running alone.
That had to be terrifying.
And at 7 years old there’s a lot about the world that can be terrifying.
But she ran brave.
Watching her race made me realize that it’s the scary stuff that gives us a chance to be brave.
Fast forward…
I stayed conscious and I said what I needed to.
Thank You.
I was speaking for the runner and coach I had become and for that 7 year old boy I was.
She walked away.
I walked back to my team.
They had a race to run tomorrow and were probably nervous.
And I wanted to tell them a story about running brave.



Go ahead and tell me how terrible you are. Tell me that you suck at running. And don’t forget to let me know that you are in such awful shape. You’ll say that it’s been so long since you were fit. You’re not even sure why you decided to show up, right?

You don’t believe you’ll be able to finish whatever it is I have planned. You’re not a runner. You suck. I know. I know all of this. 

Because you tell me. And someone else tells me the same thing about themselves…almost everyday. I hear it all the time. You’re not alone. In fact, there are more people like you than not.

And if you’re worried I won’t take you seriously when you say these things… don’t be. If you believe you suck I have no other option than to believe you. Because this, the Athlete and Coach relationship, is first and foremost a relationship built on trust. 

So, I trust you. Now you trust me.

There is no difference between you and any other runner. Because all of us runners run to get better. Sure, how we each define “better” is personal. But we all share the hope at the start of our runs that we will end it somehow better. 

Better could be faster. Stronger. Maybe longer. Could mean less stress. More joy. First run. Second Run. Next Run. Just a little better. 

So you can take me aside and repeat, again, that you suck at running. And again, I will tell you that I believe you. 

Then I will tell you what the goal of today’s run is and that you should remember it. Because it will never change. 

The goal is simply to get better. Or, if it makes more sense to you…suck less.

Now, let’s run. 


Mo In Common Than You Think 

That’s me on the left & Mo Farah on the right. We were at an event together a few months ago. I congratulated Mo & told him his performances have been nothing short of epic.
Mo Farah was a double Gold Medal winner at each of the last two Summer Olympics. He won the 5k and 10k at the London Games AND the Rio Games. Double gold medalist. Twice. 

I watched all the races on my TV & I jumped off my couch cheering like a maniac as Mo ran those final laps. And when it was over I collapsed back onto the couch. Exhausted. 

He’s a rare athlete indeed.

But Mo & I have something in common. I’ve won some gold medals too. See them right there pinned on my shirt? They’re from the Monmouth County Championships.

I lined up for the 3200m first. I was nervous as I toed the line. That’s always a good sign. Being nervous means you care. I settled in the pack & bided my time. The goal was to make the least amount of mistakes & then kick like hell. I kicked. 1 gold medal down.

I came back in the 800m. Different kind of race. The 800m is really just a long sprint. You’re in extremis the whole time. Game-plan: hold on & outlast the other guys. I did. 2 gold medals. 

I know they weren’t won in a stadium with 80,000 people on the sport’s biggest stage. My medals were won in front of 500 people sitting restlessly in aluminum stands. But, to me, 500 people was a lot of people & County Champs was a big stage. 

The competition there was just as fierce as it was at the Olympics too. My nerves, fears, & hopes were just as legitimate as Mo’s. And at the end of those races when Mo felt like his legs were filling with concrete while he ran through quicksand with fire tearing through his lungs… well, I had those feelings too.

So, I know you don’t have to be an Olympian to feel those things. You just need to take a starting line & try to get the best version of you across the finish line. 

Yeah, Mo & I have some things in common. And if you try your best, well, you have something in common with Mo too. After it’s all said and done if there’s any difference between Mo & I when we race it’s just the times on the clock. 

Well, that & the fact that I came back again & won the 1600m. 3 Golds. 1 Meet. Sorry Mo. 3 Golds is more than 2. 

There’s always Tokyo.