To give anything less than your best is to sacrifice the gift
Steve Prefontaine said that, years ago.
Possibly the most quoted running quote…ever?
It holds as a good reminder of how lucky we are to be able to enjoy the sport of running, and to not take it for granted.
However, I feel it is also often misunderstood. To do your best is not always to do your hardest. Like time, your best is relative.
During a track workout, doing your best may mean running at 110% of 5k pace for a number of 400m repetitions. No need to go faster, but you would prefer to not go slower either.
Your best means you may have to hold back, so you’re not doing the workout at max effort. But the last few reps may require you to really test yourself.
If the day is a day for regeneration, whether this means absolutely no physical activity, cross-training, or a short and easy run, doing your best on this day means practicing the patience to not run too long or too hard.
Realize that these rest days are when you get stronger, not the days that you break your body down.
Don’t be afraid to not run!
During an easy run, which should make up about three quarters of your total weekly mileage, your best means running at a perceived effort that you would place a rating of “easy” on. Your best means not worrying about pace, but simply having a relaxed run.
Finally, doing your best also means practicing healthy and mindful nutrition choices. This can mean anything from eating quality food right after a hard workout, stopping eating when you feel satisfied and before you feel full, not snacking throughout the day, or calorie counting to help with weight loss.
Remember, training is not just running. Training is how much you sleep, your regeneration runs, your cooldown walk, your warmup routine, having a good recovery snack after a track workout.
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