You’ve probably realized already that being a runner is not just going out and running.
Having success (happiness?) as an athlete is a combination of many small tasks and skills thrown together.
These are the little things.
Things we may not realize early on in our running, but they tend to always show up either on purpose or on their own.
Perhaps one of the below skills needs bit of a refresher in your head? Hopefully you can recognize this and take the reminder to heart!
Ability to Run Easy
Michael Sandrock said that “most of us make the mistake of going medium-hard all the time.” when he discussed the training of Frank Shorter. Sandrock claims one of Shorter’s secrets was the stark contrast between how easy his easy days were and how hard is hard days where. The easy miles should take up roughly 75% of our total weekly volume. Low effort running allows us to run more and more miles without hindering our ability to both recover and run hard when we need to.
In training, it is difficult to not rush, but much of the joy I find in running comes from those easy days.
Willpower to Not Run
One of the cited reason for success of the East African runners is that they have no issue if they must end a run early due to a twinge. Even taking a few days off or very light should not be a bother.
What is so important to remember is the first goal of running should be to run consistently over a long term period of time. This is impossible to do if you’re in a injury-rest-train cycle.
If you have noticed you lack this willpower, getting a coach can be helpful. They are not influenced by your need to run when you should not!
You can Accept Discomfort
Paul O’Neil spoke of discomfort when discussing the mile race. “A man who sets out to become an artist at the mile is something like a man who sets out to discover the most graceful method of being hanged. No matter how logical his plans, he can not carry them out without physical suffering.”
There are ways to make it more manageable, and practice is important. Every tempo run, track workout, or tune-up race you do is telling your brain that the suffering is ok. It will end.
Do the Extra Work
The final reminder is about all the ancillary duties that can be done outside of a run to make you a better athlete.
In his book, Ready to Run, Kelly Starrett asks you to take 10 minutes every day and perform some strength or maintenance work. These could include plyometrics, strength work, rolling, or stretching. These little things, done every day, can make a drastic difference in your ability to injury proof your body!
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