Firstly, I would like to say that this post took a complete different direction to what I expected. I am not sure if it makes any sense, but it was what I was feeling at the time, and it just kind of flowed out. Some of you may be able to relate to this, but if you do not, I completely understand…..maybe I have just not got back into the flow of blogging yet.
This may be my most random post, but hopefully you get what I am trying to say!
When my family were visiting a few weeks ago, I was working hard to organize my time to get the most of them being there, cherishing every moment I could with them, while making sure I got my training in.
“Getting my training in” being the focus of that sentence.
Not making running a priority. Not even making running 2nd or 3rd in line.
To be honest, running definitely took the back seat for a good 2-3 weeks.
Yes, I was running.
Yes, I was still doing workouts.
Yes, I was getting fitter.
But what I was not doing, was the part that keeps you healthy. The part that allows you to run to your potential.
A lot of people think that elites are just talented. That you are either born fast or not. To some extent that is true, genetics does play a role in your ability, and I am very aware that I do have a running talent, BUT what I believe makes the biggest difference is the commitment I have to doing those little things and putting in the extra time each day to reach that level.
I spend AT LEAST one hour per day on my training, but one hour is a very rare occurrence. On most days it is 2-3 hours.
On most days, only one of those hours (yes, I know I shouldn’t use the word only, but you hopefully get my point) is spent actually running. The remainder is spent doing the extra things to allow your body to get to its potential.
The remainder of that time is spent on the tasks that are not as enjoyable. Not as easy to stay committed to, and much easier to make excuses for.
What does the remainder of the 3 hours a day spent on running related activities involve?
- Warm-up drills
- Foam rolling/PVC rolling
- Using the ElliptiGO
- Lifting/Strength Training
- Active Release Therapy
- Driving to places to run
- Preparing meals with all the good, wholesome food my body needs
I also SHOULD add a nap in there at least a few times a week, but so far I am not very good at this part.
I know most people are never going to love running enough to give it that kind of time, but that extra time is what truly makes the difference between running to your potential and “just running”.
Don’t get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with just running, and actually, these past few weeks I have enjoyed running not being the top priority in my life, it was actually very refreshing to let the workouts happen with no pressure, and make my friends and family come first.
However, as much as I enjoyed it. I really can see the difference. I can feel that I am so much stiffer. I can feel that my runs are not quite as relaxed as they would usually be. I can feel my stomach upset a little more than usual as I have not been eating as well.
This is another one of those situations where you discover that you only realize how important it was when it was gone. Had I gone a few days without those things, you would probably never notice the difference….other than maybe the placebo effect, but three weeks away from them. I really did start to feel myself struggling to keep up with everything.
To me as someone who is using running as part of my career, last week it was time to knuckle back down and get on top of those “little things”. And so I did, and I was greeted with a feeling of fatigue and aches and pains last week, but that just goes to show that I really was off my game with them.
I know that for me, it is worth taking that extra time to do those little things, to get to where I want to go. Taking your running seriously is a spectrum. You can chose where you fall on that line. The closer you are to the totally committed end, the more likely you are to reach your goals, the further you are from totally committed, the more chance there is for things to go wrong as you are not controlling variables.
Have any of you played wii golf? It kind of reminds me of swinging the golf club.
Bear with me a moment……
When you are trying to hit the perfect first swing (is that called a drive?), you are trying to make the blue bar travel as close to the top as you can, the more time and effort you give to that swing, the closer your ball will get to the green. All those little variables I mentioned above when taken into account will help you get a more accurate swing, but the closer you get to the top, you can risk pushing it too far, and then who knows what will happen.
In a weird way, that red line is where you become obsessed. That moment you take your running too seriously, and it becomes your life. You ALWAYS need to have that balance.
So for the past few weeks, my pendulum swung too far in the wrong direction. I was barely hitting my golf ball off the tee. I now have the motivation to do what I need to do to get closer to the green. However, if I am not careful, I can go too far and hit off into the bushes. That is when I have lost the balance I needed in my life
I may end up in some bunkers. I will go through some rough patches, but after my walk on the wild side with my running, I am ready to find the green again.
What do you like to relate running to? How accurate is your swing right now?
This is such a fascinating and interesting post. Thanks for sharing Tina. I’ve always wondered how much extra time elites spending training but not running. It makes sense though. Foam rolling and stretching are definitely something I need to work more on myself.
LOL yes I totally get this! I need to do all those “little” things because of my aging body. If I don’t spend time stretching, rolling, warming-up properly, etc, etc, I can absolutely feel it and not in a good way. And, this week both of my kids have been sick and I’ve been completely obsessed with fitting in my workouts. It’s super frustrating!!!
I used to be so much more concerned with my swing and making it perfect. I still work really hard on the quality of the runs themselves, but I’m seriously slacking on the other parts. But these last few weeks before Chicago I am going to make an extra effort to get back to doing what I need to. Schedule be damned!
I love love love this. I used to assume that elites were simply born fast until I read “Meb for Mortals” and started to understand how much work goes in to the running lifestyle. Indeed, genetics plays a role, but so too does consistency in ‘minding the little things.’ It’s a breath of fresh air to see the honesty in this post. You’re awesome!
I’ve never played Wii golf, but I get your point:) It truly is about finding a good balance of everything. When I am training for a big race, I know I will need to put aside more time to running and running related things. Right now I think I have found a good routine but as my mileage increases I need to make sure those other things continue to be a priority!
I love it! Right now – my running is more off than on, but that is due to adjusting some habits related to some recent news and waiting for my left shin to behave. For me, running more similar to hiking a hilly trail or driving in the mountains, but the golf analogy is similar. Great job!
It is so easy to cut out all those extra little things but I agree, they make a big difference. I need to start prioritizing them a bit more!
I’ve never played wii golf, but I like your analogy. The little things really do add up over time to make such a difference! This is an excellent reminder to keep adding in my strides – I’ve slacked on those recently!
Hard to say where I fall at the moment. I am getting married in 6 weeks and have found preparations to be quite stressful. Running is my outlet, my relief, my time to get away from the craziness and stay centered. So even though my family sometimes think it’s odd that I need to get my run in even on days where we have dress fittings, gatherings, wedding shopping etc. it’s my passion and it makes me a better person for the day. So my tendency is to focus too much running as a distraction from other things, that’s probably the balance I need to work on.
I was just talking to my hubby about this the other day. I didn’t relate it to Wii golf, although that would be something he could wrap his head around, lol. I was saying that I really really really want to qualify for Boston and as I turn 40 next year I’ll get an extra 5 minutes. I was saying that I feel like I really need to take time off from the marathon to really focus on these “little things” such as strength training and drills and speed work to prep myself to get to that potential! The little things ARE important and for those who don’t do it as a career or professionally it’s easy to fall off the wagon and let those things slip to the wayside! Great post!
Love this analogy Tina! I think runners on every level struggle with this balance. At the beginning of every training cycle I reconsider my routine & try to see what’s missing & what can help my running outside of the miles themselves, but it’s easy to let those little things slip when life gets busy.
I totally get you girl! 🙂 Totally. You were spot on with this. And as a side note, I love me some wii golf.