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Monday, November 13, 2006

Racing is the best sort of training.

William and I have had may conversations over the years and William continues to write articles, books and training programs based on much of what we talk about. Here's another article he wrote recently that I think is very relevant to all distance runners.

"No matter how much a runner enjoys training, all that work is for a reason, to win races and the subsequent recognition they provide you. However, many runners are averse to competing in races. They prefer the constant and steady routine of training, but shy away from the pressure and intensity of an actual race.
However David Thomas put it best when he said, "Racing is the best sort of training. It will toughen you up, that's for sure."

The difference between inexperienced runners and veterans is not always the number of years they've been running. Instead, it is often simply the amount of time they've spent competitively running against their peers. Capitalizing off the knowledge gained from each race, even young runners can outwit more experienced individuals if they have more races to their name.

This poses a difficult situation for runners. Even though races are dramatically different than training, and many runners like Thomas are open about not enjoying them, they provide a kind of experience and knowledge that one can never gain with training alone.

Training therefore can be seen as the development of the body. Races however offer runners insight into the mental aspect of the sport. A runner can be as fit as possible, but if he/she doesn't understand how to interact with the other runners at every stage of the race, it can still result in a loss. It can be understood in this way-training will make you fit and consistent, but only races can make you a great runner.

Any runner interested in pursuing the sport competitively must acknowledge that races and training are inherently different activities. One must understand this, expect this and accept it. If you truly want to thrive as a runner, train hard and do whatever necessary to enjoy the races. Training is essential but never lose sight of the fact that it is done for a purpose, and that purpose is to succeed in the world of competitive running."

I still feel racing nerves each time I race but I do understand how important it is to improving my running. Besides the nerves almost always disappear after the first 5 or 6 paces. :)

So make sure you do some racing.


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Sunday, November 12, 2006

Never Quit

I may not look like a runner, train like a runner or even compete in the proper running gear, but I do exemplify the characteristics that are essential for a successful runner. I have persistence, dedication and heart. But above all my attitude, won't allow me to quit under any circumstances.

When I went through a rebellious stage a couple of years back. Just a short period in my life where I actually acted the part as opposed to just looking it. During this brief stint, I fitted every stereotype associated with the heavily tattooed, "punk" male. I got kicked out of the house for disrespecting my mother and even went through a passing stage of smoking drugs.

However, I've grew out of this defiant persona, and changed directions in my life. Abandoning the disrespect and drugs, I now much prefers harmless mischief over seriously detrimental recklessness.

So how does growing out of a negative phase relate to running? It all comes back to the refusal to quit. I easily could have remained mired in a downward spiral, abandoning anything ambitious in my life, but that wasn't the case. I acknowledged my mistakes and moved on. Instead of dwelling, I kept my eyes forward and picked up where I had left off, in my training and otherwise. This is exactly how one must view running. You can't ever quit or allow yourself to get caught up on past mistakes and setbacks.

This is not just a running credo. It's a way of life and a mentality. Truly dedicated runners live and breathe the sport even when they're not training. This is a prime example of how competitive running and its many aspects can bleed over into other areas of your life, even when you thought those areas were totally unrelated to one another.

It doesn't matter if you're running a race or living your day to day life. It's imperative you never quit, even when you stumble.


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Thursday, November 09, 2006

Do Anything You Can to Stay Fit

Many people who train competitively become extremely
fit during the running season and then allow
themselves to gain weight or become generally unfit
during the off- season.

However, if you do not like subjecting your body to
that kind of drastic fluctuation, there are simply
things you can do to maintain your fitness level
even when you're not training. First of all, it's a
common misconception that the only way to get fit is
to perform intensive, focused workouts. In
actuality, changing even little things about your
day to day routine will help keep you in decent
shape while you're in the running off-season.

For example, the majority of people will jump into
their car and drive down to the grocery store.
However, if you have a little extra time to spare
and live within walking distance of the store, do
so. Not only will you get the exercise walking down
and back, but you'll save on gas and car maintenance
as well.

If you live a little further from the store, ride a
bicycle. If it's the winter and you have a pile of
wood to chop, don't automatically start to your
chainsaw. Instead, like runner David Thomas often
does, chop the wood by hand with an axe. It's a
surprisingly difficult workout, and done
consistently enough, you'll even develop some muscle
tone in your arms.

These are just two examples, but the general point
is the same. The workout doesn't have to be drastic
to be effective. Changing little things about your
day can really make a difference.

Activity is the key. Whenever possible, set your
body moving. It won't yield the results of a full
exercise session, but it will keep your body in good
form until you commence training.

Our bodies don't like the shock of undulating
between "fit" and "unfit." Therefore, make fitness a
part of your everyday routine, and the benefits will
be truly long-lasting.

A little article william wrote. I though it might help those of you who are just starting the off season. For everyone else get out there!


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