How Mark Allen Gets the Best Out of Himself at Any Age

Whenever we're looking to improve ourselves as runners and endurance athletes, we often look to the best. Who are the ones that have done better than everybody else and what advice do they have?
How Mark Allen Gets the Best Out of Himself at Any Age


Whenever we're looking to improve ourselves as runners and endurance athletes, we often look to the best. Who are the ones that have done better than everybody else and what advice do they have? Well, recentl, I had the absolute pleasure of talking to Mark Allen on the other show I do on this channel, Smart Athlete Podcast. And we talked about his secret to how he gets the most out of any athlete and makes them as fast as they possibly can be.

As I mentioned in the intro, I do another show on this channel called the Smart Athlete Podcast, where I get to talk like people like Ironman legend, Mark Allen. Very fortunate to have been having conversations with people like him. If you like that kind of thing and you want to talk about running, then you should subscribe. Stick around. And if you don't already know, I'm Jesse Funk and this is a show I call Runner's High.

So let's talk about what Mark's mental trick is, what his mental secret is, and it's a little bit simple, but very deep. And that's the trick to it. Mark's secret is to challenge yourself a little every single day. He talks about this on Mondays with Mark Allen, his show on his YouTube channel.

If you want to check out his channel, it's going to be down to the description below. We'll have a link to him. Check out his channel, his Mondays on Mark Allen episodes. And Mark if you're watching this, thank you again for coming on to talk with me. But we want to think about his tip, right? Challenge yourself a little bit every day.

Well, on the surface, it's kind of like, "Duh! Mark, come on. Just challenge yourself, huh? Or are we all trying to do that?" But it's a little more complex than that, and I talk about that with him on that Smart Athlete Podcast episode. I'll link to our conversation at the end of this video, so stick around for that. If you want to know more and you love Mark Allen, you're going to want to check that out. So it seems simple on the surface, but let's delve into what that actually means.

So let's start at that surface layer, right? Challenge yourself every day. Well, that means going hard, right? Mark Allen didn't win six Ironman titles because he didn't go hard. Of course, he did. He went hard. He had to. But that's what we are already all doing, right? We're trying to get the most out of ourselves every single day, aren't we? Are we going out and going, "Oh, you know, I don't think I'm going to not challenge myself today? That's not going, you know, I think I think if I just don't give my best effort, then that's going to get me where I want to go."

No, I mean, society constantly harps at us about do a little better. Do a little more. Go harder. Hustle, hustle, hustle. Or that hustle culture. Creeping into our brains, maybe it's creeped out from sports into life, I'm not sure they're probably a weird symbiotic relationship. But beyond that surface of work harder, there's actually something we need to talk about that is a little bit more difficult to get to and is a tough conversation you have to have with yourself.

And that conversation is simply that challenging yourself doesn't always mean going harder. Challenging yourself can mean a lot of different things in particular. Maybe you're really, really good at going hard. I actually find that a lot of the pros I talked to on the Smart Athlete Podcast, they talk about how their coaches want to harp on them about going hard and you've got to push harder. And if you want to be better, you've got to push harder and they end up broken. They end up injured because they're very, very good at going hard.

And if you're here watching this video, you're aware of Mark Allen and you're kind of in this culture. You're probably pretty good at going hard, too. Maybe, you, like me, we don't have the genetic potential that Mark Allen and some of the top pros have today, but that doesn't mean that our ability to give our best effort is not going to be similar.

Our maximized output? Maybe not. But the ability to push as hard as we possibly can. I think we can maximize that. The challenge here. Is not to do that. It said some days we actually have to sit back and go, "No, I don't need to do that today", and the challenge is pulling yourself back. Because I think it's easy to say, "Oh, I need to go hard, I need to go hard every single day", and then like some of those pros, you end up broken.

It's much harder to learn about moderation or when to rest and when to work. That's tough. Going out and blasting yourself every single day. I would say that's actually easier. Because you just have an on switch, you flick it on. No problem. But when you flick it on and turn it back off or dial it down, maybe it's like a dimmer switch. Then you have to think about it more. It takes more mental effort, planning and execution of that plan to get that right. And that is the challenge. That's the challenge. I think that Mark's talking about and we talked about on that episode is Smart Athlete Podcast. Again, I'll link at the end of this episode to our our conversation we talk about that is not always easy to back off to know when to rest.

And I, you know, blasted of current pro for doing this. It's a little bit pretentious of me, I know, but I and I don't know his particular circumstances. But Sam Long, who's one of the top full-distance Ironman competitors right now, trying to keep up with the Norwegians. There was an article I read about him where he decided instead of taking time off, he was going to double down on training. And I kind of went off on this conversation with Mark Allen about this situation.

And I just went if he needed to rest. Then he needed to rest like doubling down on work is the wrong thing to do. And I think that's where that fits in with this idea about challenging yourself a little bit every day because if you know everybody else is working and you're resting, even if rest is what you need to do and you're highly competitive, it's so easy to fall into that trap of I need to work harder. I need to work harder because we don't always need to work hard or we don't always need to do more miles. Yes. Is there a correlation between more work and higher performance? Absolutely. But that doesn't take into account our current circumstances, our own physiology, our personal needs. And you have to do that if you want to get the most out of yourself.

What Mark Allen does for training is not what I'm going to do for training is not what you are going to do for training. We all have different needs and different schedules, and that is the bit about challenging yourself a little bit every day because although I'd love to be as good as Mark Allen was, I can't be. And if I try to just think all I need to do is work hard and then I can be, that ignores all the other little challenges.

So what I like you to do? Leave a comment down below. Really think about it. What is the thing? What is the challenge that is actually very tough for you? Not the working hard part. What's the thing? You are having a tough time on that. You want to challenge yourself. I want you to commit to that challenge, leaving the other comment below so we can post it publicly and let everybody know what is that challenge you're going to work on, whether it's more rest, more recovery, doing your stretches, doing rehab routines, whatever it is that challenge you know you've got, that's sitting in the back of your mind that you're bad at, but you know you need to get around to commit to it. Leave it in the comments below. And. I'll see you next time on the next episode of Runner's High.

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