by Patrick Reed
Do we train to race or race to train?? I would have to say that I find almost boundless motivation from anticipating a race day. In recent months and years, I have learned to take a long view in my daily training — both during the daily distance runs and in my pushups, sit-ups and other strength and core work — as I look to future events. For me, the upcoming races are big ultra events far down the road. With such goals as the Leadville 50 next summer and hopefully the Leadville 100 a year from then, the daily training becomes a single step in a broad staircase towards the big goal. This is helpful to me because when the going becomes difficult one day — if I bonk, for example, amidst a modest long run — I can keep things in perspective. This is just one cog in the grand machine, and so I discipline myself to keep putting one foot in front of the other, one foot in front of the other… and even though the pace has slowed to a crawl and my progress has diminished to nearly inefficiency, yet I am working through the doldrums on this single day of thousands. I know the day’s run for what it is and for its real purpose. It is a lone stone when considered as its own entity, but an important piece of the wall, of the structure being fashioned, when seen in perspective of my goals. And for me – after long years of trial and error and of often doing it wrong – this principle has shown itself to be the key to effective training: to view the daily training run as a part of the whole and not in relief.
“Run forever with the distant mountains in your heart. With the highest summits, deepest defeats and dreams of impossibly grand exhilarations in your imagination.”
On the other hand, when we race the daily training run, we diminish it. It becomes as an end in itself. Just as when one member of a team is held up above the rest and falsely esteemed to be the ‘everything’ – and the team falters or excels based upon that single soul’s inevitably fickle performance – when the training run is made to be too much, race results will inevitably suffer. My advice on this point: train always with the end in mind. Run forever with the distant mountains in your heart. With the highest summits, deepest defeats and dreams of impossibly grand exhilarations in your imagination. The defeats – considered as plausible specters – will draw you to excellence, and tomorrow’s heavenly aspirations will keep you modest today and pull you deeper along the road to your best.
Do I train to race? You bet! And in doing so, I win everyday.
Keep running everyday with excellence as your guide!
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