Only a fool would be unwilling to
LEARN FROM OTHERS.
But be leery of blindly accepting everything you hear from so-called experts.
A couple of years back, my wife and I trained to run a half-marathon. Our training consisted of daily conditioning tapping into the 3 H’s necessary for building strength and stamina: hills, heat, and humidity.
Do Your Research.
My wife searched the internet to get some running tips from experienced runners. She found a couple of helpful ideas, but most of them fell into the category of opinions and personal preferences.
For example, one source stated quite emphatically that “No real runner would listen to music while running.” The writer urged instead for runners to listen to their own heartbeats and the cheering of the crowd.
Another source eschewed wearing shoes, claiming that “real” runners go barefoot.
Finally, a women’s running website suggested that the only reason a woman needs to wear a bra is because she’s conditioned her body to need a bra. The writer insisted that walking and running sans bra would further develop her pectoral muscles and eventually “toughen breast tissue” so that a bra would become unnecessary.
I wonder if the author of that last article has even seen a National Geographic magazine or read about the recent discovery called gravity.
Anywho, my wife and I chuckled at the suggestions. Instead of embracing the wide range of wacko-sounding ideas from the experts, we continued to train while listening to music and wearing shoes. And at least one of us wore a bra.
Mark Twain said, “Early to bed, early to rise. And this is wise. Although I once knew a man that got at sunrise, and a horse bit him.”
Haven’t we all heard stories about the person who smoked a pack of cigarettes and drank a glass of brandy each day for 95 years before dying in a freak snorkeling accident? Okay, I admit that I made up the snorkeling part, but haven’t you heard people who smoke and drink heavily rely on similar anecdotal (if not also apocryphal) stories as a way of suggesting that “What works for some might also work for me” even when common sense and scientific research doesn’t support them?
Run Your Own Race.
Kim, a friend of mine, blogged about the last thing her father told her before he passed away. He said, “Run your OWN race.”
Here’s what that means to me:
1. Know yourself. Take an honest inventory of your strengths and weaknesses. But never forget it’s your strengths that will propel you to the finish line. Be the expert on you.
2. Practice like real-life. My wife and I practiced in heat, hills, and humidity, because the race took place in heat, hills, and humidity. Real-life conditions are gritty, tiring, and relentless. Run your practice races the same way so you won’t be surprised by the real thing.
3. Do what works for you. My wife signed up for the half-marathon because she values health and exercise, and she wanted to push herself. I signed up for the half-marathon to support my wife. We entered training and the race for completely different reasons and at completely different fitness levels. Today, my wife still runs half-marathons; for my part, I still run, but nothing over a couple of miles.
You can borrow brains, ideas, and even some motivation from others. But you have to find your own internal drive to cement your commitment.
Do you know what defines a runner? A runner is someone that runs. NOT someone who wins races. NOT someone who owns running shoes. NOT someone who reads running books. A runner is nothing more than a person who runs.
What’s your race? What are you doing today to prepare yourself for the race you run, whatever that race may be?