With two national titles to her name, running pro Lauren Fleshman finished seventh in the world championship 5,000-meter event -- the highest place for any American woman to date. Now chasing Olympic glory, Fleshman ran her first marathon in 2011 to build the kind of endurance and power she'll need for a shot at bronze, silver and gold.
Own your experience. New runners tend to focus on the potential pitfalls of their endeavor. While these concerns are valid, they can keep you from noticing all the joy surrounding the wonderful thing you're about to accomplish. To keep your focus on the good stuff, confront the not-so-good stuff head on. Next time an undermining thought emerges ("I'm too fat." "I'm not a runner." "What was I thinking?"), jot it down in your training log. Then, spend a few minutes compiling all the counterarguments ("I've been training hard." "People do this every day." "I love how I feel when I run.") When it comes up again (it will), you'll be prepared to hear it, address it, and send it on its way.