One phrase I hear runners say so often after an event, and it never made sense to me:
“Well not too bad, considering I didn’t train…”
I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to tackle anything important without mindfulness, intent, and preparation. I wouldn’t “wing it” in an important meeting with a client and I certainly owe it to myself to do better when it comes to the activities that are important to me.
I have seen this approach from two types of runners. One from the runners who you see out there running 4-5 or more times a week and the other from so many who sign up for an event which is months out, pay the money, and somehow fail to prepare either due to injury or lack of prioritization.
For the first group… if you’re out there running regularly yet somehow you “didn’t train” … time to rethink what you’re doing out there. And by the way – training doesn’t necessarily mean speedwork. Training means moving mindfully, with intention, and building a stronger body and mind over a period of time. Each time I lace up my shoes to visit the roads or trails, I work on specific form focuses, keeping my heart rate low and under control, and running with ease. I haven’t done an ounce of speedwork in months, since my focus has been on building a better aerobic engine – and each run done with intent and focus… working on areas that benefit me the most.
For the second group, isn’t it worth it to make a commitment to yourself that when you dole out the money for a race (they sure aren’t cheap!) – you develop a plan to get you to the finish line safely and effectively. Working with a coach can be helpful to ensure that your plan is sound and in alignment with your goals. Having a coach is like using a map for a trip. If you don’t know where you’re going, and you don’t have a map – who knows where you will end up.
If you have a plan yet somehow find yourself battling injury, it’s worth the investment to spend some time working on your technique before racing. Remember: Technique first, then Distance, then Speed, in that order. It may not be a quick process but the time and investment you invest into making yourself a better runner pays dividends over the long term. Fundamentally if you want to be a better runner, you need to be running… and if you’re constantly hurt you won’t be able to do much of that.
So, the next time you find an event that really calls to you – you owe it to yourself to do more than just “wing it” … I promise it will be a much more rewarding experience in the end.