When I swam competitively, I always claimed I wanted to make the YMCA National Team by getting a breaststroke cut. I looked at the national swimmers in awe thinking, “Wow, they really have it all”- something I wanted for myself. They were distinguished by the mass amount of gear with “National team” embroidered or stamped on it. At that moment, all I could do was envision myself hitting the wall, peering up at the clock with a shining national time: 1:08 or 1:09. The results were expected though. I showed up every day, sometimes twice a day, for two hours with high level national swimmers. Except, I didn’t put any emphasis on the QUALITY of my work. How you train for a race is how you do anything else in life. Like my swimming, my school work and friendships lacked that same quality because showing up just isn’t enough. Results don’t occur from doing the bare minimum- aka showing up and breathing.

Lesson Learned: You don’t get what you want by giving minimal effort. It comes from doing the work. Former Navy Seal and ultra-endurance athlete, David Goggins  is a force when it comes to producing maximal effort in times of adversity. Goggins is known for relating his motivation to an obsession, since motivation is similar to a flame- easily extinguished by water. He repeated BUD/S three times, attempted the Pull-up world record three times, completed numerous ultra marathons to perform his best in difficult terrains and self-published a best seller. The man oozes obsession. If his goals weren’t met, he would take inventory of what went well and assessed what could have been better- taking what his newfound knowledge and returning to the task. The quality of training means being adaptable and self-aware of errors to perform at a higher quality.

Lesson learned: Training doesn’t always feel good.

I used to get a euphoric high and sense of invincibility during a hard workout where I was excelling. I knew I was crushing it and felt powerful. I would expect the same results the next day. Except, my lungs were burning up, my heart was in my throat and my legs felt like one million pounds. The feeling experienced after type of workout would be one of defeat and self-doubt, but in reality, it’s just the rule of thirds.

Alexi Pappas, Olympian, filmmaker and actor, appeared as a guest on the Rich Roll podcast, While promoting her new book, she recalled a terrible workout a few weeks before the Olympics and what he mentor and coach taught her. Cue the rule of thirds. “One-third of your workouts will feel amazing, one-third of your workouts will be okay, and one-third of your workouts will be terrible”.  If things in training go awry, remember you won’t feel great one-thir of the time but you still put your best effort forward. I believe the effort in working out and life are similar and this rule can apply to anything- including work, relationships, and dating.

When training, racing, dating, or whatever else in life, remember these lessons:

  1. Quality and consistency of your participation matters
  2. If you’re struggling or not feeling *amazing*, remember the rule of thirds.

Until next time, run freely,




Roll, R (host). 2021, February 8. Alexi Pappas is Bravy. Episode # 579. Audio Podcast Episode. Rich Roll Podcast. https://www.richroll.com/podcast/alexi-pappas-579/

Roll, R (host). 2017, January 3. NAVY SEAL DAVID GOGGINS IS THE TOUGHEST ATHLETE ON EARTH — THOUGHTS ON MINDSET, THE 40% RULE & WHY PURPOSE ALWAYS TRUMPS MOTIVATION. Episode # 266. Audio Podcast Episode. Rich Roll Podcast. https://www.richroll.com/podcast/david-goggins/