This is Why I Run

A hill across the Hudson River from New York City

Before the Coronavirus pandemic, you would have never caught me running. I much preferred the weight room but being limited to pushups and a single resistance band can do funny things to a man. 

Right outside of my apartment building in the shadows of Manhattan is a hill that we have dubbed "Big Bertha." Etched into the facade of big bertha is a street that zigs and zags its way for roughly one-third of a mile to the top. A steep metal staircase scales the vertical distance and cuts pedestrians walking times down dramatically. 

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The stairwell that goes up the hill

During the quarantine, Bertha has become a hub for fitness enthusiasts around town. Most workouts I see consist of some sort of burpee bonanza, body weight squats and are usually topped off with some sprints up the stairs. 

Few exercisers, however, take Big Bertha head on and run the entire length of the zig-zagging road. This is where the men are separated from the boys.

Bertha is no picnic.

It's a straight shot out of the bottom and a full 180 degree turn about a third of the way up. This turn also requires the daring runners to elevate about four feet in a single bound. 

The second straight away is the longest. It's the meat of the run. In my mind, this leg of the race ends when you reach the top of the staircase. Here you can gloat silently as you pass all of the other folks who opted to take the easier climb. 

The final battle is a windy climb to the peak. As you approach the final and steepest ascent a small smiley-face is painted on the ground that almost taunts you as you begin the last climb to the top. 

The Final Stretch of Big Bertha

The smiley face taunting you as finish up Big Bertha

I am a Strength and Conditioning Coach but I couldn't care less about the aerobic qualities that I am training during this run. 

I don't scale Bertha to improve my cardiac output.

I don't run the hill to increase the endurance of my type-1 muscle fibers.

And I don't roll out there at 6:30 in the morning to make sure that I have a six-pack summer.

I exclusively run this hill to make it really hard for my mind to focus on the goals that I really want to focus on.

Every month I set a new goal for my business. This month is financial. I want to generate a certain amount of revenue this month. I spend all day making sure that I am HYPER-focused on it. 

"Singleness of purpose is one of the chief essentials for success in life, no matter what may be one's aim." - John D. Rockefeller Jr.

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A view of New York City from the top of Big Bertha

Lower Manhattan from Hoboken

The more focused I can become, the more likely I will accomplish my goal.

And the loftier my goals become, the more focused I must be. So I must train my focus like I would train any of my muscles. 

I run Big Bertha to challenge my mind and make it better. 

On every rep up that cliff, about 50 yards in, the demons always return. 

They tempt me to quit.

They make every successive step harder and harder.

And they send my thoughts into a dizzying spin of negativity.

My only job is to stay focused on my single goal. 

Sometimes I see the number figure I have set. 

Sometimes I see myself performing the work I need to perform to reach my new height.

I always imagine myself doing it with endless energy and incredible focus. 

The more intently I can focus on my goal, the easier Bertha seems to be. 

And as my mind reaches new heights of focus, it's no coincidence that level of success I find in my career rises right along side it.

As a fitness professional, it would serve you well to do the same. I know you workout. We all workout. Set your sights on a single goal and put that goal in your mind when you workout. Is it really hard for you to do that? That should be a major warning sign that your mind needs a serious tune up. If it's easier for you, then raise your level. Challenge yourself. Do you want to learn more about this stuff and what you can do about it? Register for one of my LIVE webcasts to help raise your game. Click the link below to view the webinar schedule.

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Strength and Conditioning, Personal Trainer