The Golden Recipe: Confidence, Resilience, and Hope

AJW explains why Confidence, Resilience, and Hope are the golden recipe for successful long distance runners.

By on May 13, 2016 | Comments

AJWs TaproomLast week, at a meeting I attended with an experienced group of educational leaders, the topic of discussion eventually centered in on a very basic essential question,

“What three things — skills, attributes, temperaments, whatever — do you want your students to graduate high school with?”

The facilitator, knowing he had captured a moment and struck a chord with his question, gave us very little time to think through our answers. Within a minute of posing his question, he pushed us for our answers. And, as seems to always happen to me, he pointed to me first and asked,

“Andy, tell us your three things.”

I didn’t even flinch. I am not sure why, but the answer came to me instantly,

“Confidence, Resilience, and Hope.”

Ever since I started teaching 25 years ago, the students I’ve known who’ve embodied these three attributes have inspired and motivated me. Likewise, the long distance runners I’ve gotten to know over the past two decades that have been confident, resilient, and hopeful have been those who’ve personified what it means to be a successful runner and a successful person. In essence, Confidence, Resilience, and Hope comprise, to me, a perfect recipe in education, running, and life.

You know the confident runner when you see him. Self-assured, relaxed, carrying a wry smile, the confident runner is not a faker. The most confident runners I know take calculated risks, but also do so while eliminating all variables. They carry their confidence in their heads and in their hearts as well as their bodies and when they toe the line, they are always ready.

The resilient runner shows her scars. She has been through more ups and downs than the rest of us care to think about and she has come out the other side standing upright and strong. The resilient runner, like the resilient student, has had her fair of failures and disappointments and yet she hasn’t given in. She’s remained steadfast, stalwart, and true. The resilient runner is that one who gets out of her chair at mile 82 and forges on — one foot in front of the other until she’d done.

Hope and the hopeful runner are always a bit more fleeting. While confidence and resilience can be seen and touched, hope needs to be felt. As such, it is the most capricious of the three things, but also the most purposeful and relevant. The hopeful runner and student have a spring in their step tempered by caution in their voice. Hope can be such a deep visceral emotion that is requires balance, focus, and a fair amount of risk. And when we get it right, it’s awesome!

And so, to me, Confidence, Resilience, and Hope truly represent the Golden Recipe. While not every day out there will be perfect, if we can keep these three things alive in our toolboxes we can run healthy and happy and not only become better runners, but better versions of ourselves, as well.

Bottoms up!

AJW’s Beer of the Week

Lawson's Finest Liquids Session in the RyeThis week’s Beer of the Week comes from one of the Taproom’s favorite beer states, Vermont! Since my wife and son will be going up there later this month for a bike race hopefully they can bring some of this back for me. Lawson’s Finest Liquids Session in the Rye Belgian-style saison ale is a really unique spin on this classic variety. Incredibly smooth drinking, this saison is perfect for the sultry days of summer.

Call for Comments (from Bryon)

  • How do you think confidence, resilience, and hope affect you as a distance runner?
  • What three “skills, attributes, temperaments” would you consider most important for a distance runner? For success in life in general?
Andy Jones-Wilkins

Andy Jones-Wilkins is an educator by day and has been the author of AJW’s Taproom at iRunFar for over 11 years. A veteran of over 190 ultramarathons, including 38 100-mile races, Andy has run some of the most well-known ultras in the United States. Of particular note are his 10 finishes at the Western States 100, which included 7 times finishing in the top 10. Andy lives with his wife, Shelly, and Josey, the dog, and is the proud parent of three sons, Carson, Logan, and Tully.