My college coach was a great guy, awesome runner and- well- a little kooky. He had a million sayings that you might shake your head and wonder but every so often he had one that sticks with you. Even 10 years later.
So all you Tigers out there, remember the bears? Remember how Ted would always yell to “Fight off those bears off your back, guy”, which I took to mean keep going. Don’t listen to the voice of doubt. And if you run faster it will still hurt but it won’t hurt as long (because who can really outrun a bear anyway?).
My “bear” these days is the weather. I know it has been a relatively warm and incredibly dry winter so far but it is still winter and winter running kind-of stinks. A few weeks ago the wind kicked up and oh my! it was tough. At one track workout I felt as if I was leaning into the wind 3/4 of the way around, and yet a big gust could still make it feel like Mother Nature just shoulder-checked me. I have fought the wind up and down the greenbelt, around the track and at the crest of every trail. I think it is making me stronger, but it feels like it is making me slower as well.
That’s the thing though. Marathoning is so much more than running. It’s never easy, it’s rarely ideal and it’s all about who trained both body and mind. I may not be hitting my 800 splits this week but I am working harder- focusing and pushing with each step. Just to see how great the wind’s effect was on me, I ran inside the Y for one last 800 and ran it almost 10 seconds faster on the treadmill (with a 1% grade, of course). Now that was the boost of confidence I was looking for from this workout!
If you’re training for your first race, your next big race or something important in life just don’t forget to recognize the mental training you are also working on. Stay positive on every run- this is good practice for race day. Remember to give yourself a break when the conditions aren’t ideal. And work hard so that at least you can say you gave it your all, at every workout, every long run, every step of the race. I loved a quote I saw on Run The Edge recently:
Tomorrow you can either be SORE or you can be SORRY. You choose.