But we almost never discuss the failures of the world's best runners.
What does it feel like to never achieve your biggest goal throughout your entire career?
How does an elite keep perspective? Do they ever think about quitting?
Most importantly... how do elites bounce back from setbacks? Do they have a different mindset than us normal runners?
What enables them to continue training at high levels for years?
How do they overcome a bad workout, long run, or race?
These are the questions that I couldn't get out of my head.
So I interviewed six pro runners to get their hot take on failure:
They're the stars of Episode 39 of the Strength Running podcast. I think you're going to love this episode.
We talk about their own personal failures, how they bounced back, and whether their approach to failure has changed over time.
Meet Devon Yanko. On August 19, 2017 she won the Leadville Trail 100 - a race where 9,200 feet altitude is the lowest you'll experience on the course.
She finished in 20:46:29, averaging 12:28 per mile - a half hour ahead of her nearest competitor.
With nearly 16,000 feet of elevation change through Colorado's gnarliest mountain terrain, the course is so difficult that in most years, less than half of the field finishes the race.
Having run in similar places, I can vouch for how strenuous this terrain can be (even for experienced runners). With precious air at a costly premium, the steep grades and uneven footing make traversing these trails a form of slow-motion torture.
Going uphill burns the lungs after just a few steps. Each muscle contraction seems to draw double the amount of oxygen to fuel their movements.
Running downhill isn't much better. The rocky terrain is a nightmare for those with weak ankles.
Try running fast on a technical downhill trail after running for 3+ hours (in the dark, no less). It's terrifying.
To win Leadville is like single-handedly winning the World Series or the Superbowl.
Leadville is one of the top ultramarathons in the world. Winning it is a career-defining moment for trail runners.
But for Devon, it's just one more race on her long list of achievements:
Not to be outdone, she's also the owner of M. H. Bread and Butter bakery in San Anselmo, CA with her husband.
Strength Running readers will also be familiar with Devon - she joined eight other elite athletes in sharing her best injury prevention and recovery advice for The Little Black Book of Prevention & Recovery (it's free - download it now).
You're going to love my conversation with Devon - but not just because she's one of the best long distance runners in the world.
She's also hilarious.