Saturday night I was on a long 25 mile run and had roughly 5 miles left when I had the pleasure of meeting a new friend who was in a state of boozie bliss. I’ve learned from dealing with intoxicated people in the past that there are usually only two ways this could turn out, 1. he was going to want to fight or 2. he was going to be my new best friend. Turns out there was a third option that night, as I began closing in on him he must of been inspired by my late night dedication and took off running. His initial surge quickly subsided and he pace slowed, and all of a sudden I found myself picking up my pace and 20 feet before passing him, he returned to walking. As I quickly passed still not sure how this night would turn out I gave him the universal runners head nod and in return he took his shirt off and gave me a “you think your better then me?” glare. I made it about 15 yards down the road when I was again joined by my new friend, after a few minutes of a nonsensical chat about running I knew there would be no fighting. But then out of nowhere I was filled with an overwhelming urge to show this poor drunk guy that I was a runner and I’m going to take him to the limit, maybe if this would of been a run less then 5 miles it would have been no big deal, but I was 20 miles in. Did I do the rational smart thing and just keep at my scheduled pace? NOPE!! So for the next mile and a half I’m giving this guy the business and feeling pretty good when all of a sudden he has the realization that he missed his turn and stops running turns around and walks away without another word shared between us. This is when I also realize I’m absolutely dying and I’m out of water and I’m still 3 plus miles from home, I slowly shuffle my way home wondering what I had just proven other then I was a complete moron….
What’s the point of this story?
There is a time and a place for pushing the envelope, most of the time training is not that place. Training is the base of the end goal, there has never been a medal waiting for me when I walked in the door. I know many of times wanting to speed up and pass someone faster just to “show’em” and in reality we have no idea who they are are what they are doing for training that day. What will you have to show for it? I hate being passed, but I had to get over it because I wanted and continue to strive to get better, and racing drunk guys at 10 o’clock at night doesn’t accomplish that. This need to run to your max in training isn’t specific to a new runner or a not so new one, its across the board. For new runners its usually that thing that derails the plan of running faster then anything, we either get defeated by the “forget it I can’t do this!” or worse injury. When if we just would of slowed down and realized that we are probably not Kenyan and its a process of building up. As for the seasoned runner it’s almost a bigger problem because habits are hard to break, and if mile stones have been reached why fix something that’s working. Ironically it’s not working at well as it could be, we see runners who train a ton but never show any improvements year after year, the most likely reason is they are stuck in a “grey zone” and what that means is that on prescribed hard days of training the effort isn’t hard enough, and on easy days the effort is to much and that I think has to do with ego. These specific efforts are crucial for improvement of the total race day outcome from building base to learning how to finish strong. At the end of the day I think we all need to understand the big picture of why we are putting in these efforts in the first place, it’s losing weight and getting heathy for some or setting a new PR for others. But mostly don’t race drunk guys, because they have superpowers and probably won’t remember the next day….
Slow is smooth and smooth is fast