Canadian Marathoner Lanni Marchant On How To Set Goals Like An Athlete
If you take advice from anyone, take it from a record holder. Runner Lanni Marchant shares her success secrets and why we need to appreciate our failures.
What’s it like to always be pushing yourself? We went straight to London, Ont. runner Lanni Merchant. She just announced a recent and very major partnership with Under Armour, and gave us some insight into goal-setting, her #BHmoment successes and how you can set goals like an athlete.
Her favourite #BHmoments
“It’s actually tough to pick one moment. The easy answers would be the ‘highs’ of my career, such as setting the marathon record, winning bronze in the 10,000-m at Pan Am Games, or competing at the Olympics. Every time I have been able to represent Canada and my family on the international scene has been huge moment for me. However, I think I am most proud of my finish at World Champs 2013 where my body had given up but I hadn’t, and I refused to drop out despite finishing almost last.”
Getting over yourself, and other obstacles
“Just because something is hard, [it] does not mean I get to walk away. Setting goals means there is a risk you’ll fail – but that’s kind of the point. The risk of failure or not accomplishing something just means I have to work harder and sometimes find a different path to get there.”
The strategy for goal-setting: Work your way backwards and tell everyone
“In 2012, I wanted to go to the Rio Olympics, so [my coach and I] worked backwards, in terms of how to qualify. But we also had goals for each season leading up to my qualifiers, [like the] Canadian records, Championship races and medal contention etc.
“For life goals, I’ll always keep that target in mind but I know that there might be some different paths and bends in the road to get there.
“Regardless of the goal, I have learned that I have to be vocal and share my goals with those around me. Keeping it a secret means I am carrying the risk of failure solely on my shoulders. When I share my goals with my family, close friends and coach, it means they are there to help me when I hit a bump or come to a crossroad and need help.”
Choose a powerful role model
“My biggest life role model has been my mum. She showed me that in life we do not get to walk way just because something is hard. I also believe it is because of her I ended up the athlete I am today and it is not necessarily because either of us thought this was an actual possibility. She always moved her body. Through every pregnancy and then after she would always head out for runs. I remember watching her in her bedroom doing different core exercises while she made coaching notes. She’s a figure skating coach.
“Needless to say, it left an impression which is probably why, all through law school, I would do P90X in my living room at 10 pm or find ways to squeeze in runs between classes. She helped lay the foundation for the person – and athlete – I am today.”
Don’t make this goal mistake
“I never set goals that would limit me. I’m allowed to change my mind, and in doing so change my goals to something bigger. I also would never set a goal that could result in harming my health or my relationship with my family in any way. The best goals to make are those that are true to you and are not influenced by any outside factors.”
Goals don’t always have to be performance based
“After coming back from illness [in early 2017], I made the goal that I was going to make my own nut butters, nut milks, green juices etc. It has been a fun challenge.”
Find positive words
“I have a few things that go through my head regularly, mostly song lyrics, that help keep me motivated or remind me that I am in a good head space. I’ve said several times that if I can’t hear music in my head I need to step back and evaluate if I’m happy.”
A recent goal she’s achieved
“Partnering with Under Armour has made me more excited about running and about seeing what else I can accomplish. I admire the company’s commitment to giving back to its community as well as their desire to take risks and expand in the World of running. It’s easy to stay where you are comfortable and established.”