Yesterday was my 30th birthday and I kicked off the celebration by running a 5K at B.U.s indoor track. I had been feeling great leading up to the race, so the plan was to run a fast time.
In heindsight I did reasonably well, but failed to run a super fast time. I think my biggest mistake was letting the lead pack get too far in front early. Check out the highlight reel to see what I mean.
As you can see from the video, the lead pack get out really fast and I'm stuck in the middle. I had to work around a few people and then ended up leading the chase pack for a little bit.
From there it was pretty much back and forth, passing, getting passed...kind of a messy race.
I finished up in 15:47. Not as fast I hoped but still pretty solid. My key takeaways are that I need to solidify a better strategy before the race starts and I need to stay consistent with my long training runs.
I'm not sure what my next race is. I have some planning to do.
When reading about running form I often see naysayers using the phrase "if it ain't broke don't fix it." I can somewhat understand hearing this phrase from someone who is just running for fitness, and doesn't want to be bothered by learning the fundamentals of the exercise they are partaking in.
Hearing this phrase come out of the mouth of athletes completely baffles and saddens me. It's even more upsetting when I see supposed mentors encouraging student-athletes to keep repeating the same things over and over while producing the same mediocre results. I understand that tinkering with a successful formula TOO MUCH is not wise, but the notion of not trying to improve at all is completely ridiculous and completely against the spirit of athletic competition.
The formula for success in athletics is pretty simple:
Great performances indicate that very little needs to change
Horrible performances indicate that a lot needs to change
Evaluate how you are doing, decide how you want to be doing, calculate the difference and fill the gaps.
Even if you're doing great, there is room to improve! There is ALWAYS more to learn, more to experience. Add in a few new drills, new exercises, small tweaks to your form and see how much better you can be. Never be fully satisfied until you are done competing. If you consider yourself an athlete, strive for the best.
If you are doing terrible, hate running, can't run without pain, then you may want to consider making some major changes to your routine.
For track and cross country runners, don't get tricked into running like a robot, especially if you run cross country. If you want to be a great cross country runner, you will need to run with your WHOLE BODY, not just your legs. Run like an ATHLETE not a RUNNER.
An Athlete acts and reacts from their body. An athlete thinks about form. An athlete has an understanding of the basic fundamentals of their sport because they were taught the fundamentals, probably at a young age.
Not runners. Runners just run. Runners act from their heads. They run by 100% thought/0% feel. Don't believe me? Go to any track meet and undoubtedly you will hear multiple people yelling various split times, and advising the runners to speed up or slow down based on their average pace. In this case the runner is not even running from their own head, they are running from their coaches head.
Could this be why a random soccer player decides to come out for track every year and ends up being faster than the majority of the cross country team? The soccer player runs like an athlete. Runners...we just run.
What makes an athlete great? Lots of things. But one thing they ALL have is a superior mind-body connection. Runners appear to be one of the few sets of athletes that purposely try to sabotage their mind-body connection by running themselves into the ground.
I think we've hung onto the insanity from the running boom but lost the essence. We forget that the good old boys from back in the day were having a blast as they crushed 160 mile weeks, week after week. It was FUN. Now all we care about is getting in the mileage. Actually, we prefer it NOT to be fun because we think if we hate it we will somehow get better results? No one has yet been able to explain to me how practicing suffering produces happiness. It seems to produce more suffering to me.
That's why I choose to practice happy.
In my world, having fun is what its all about. Not only because it's more fun, it also produces better results! Having fun is how you learn and get good at something in the first place.
Working on your running form is FUN if you have the right approach and right guidance.
And remember, just because something "ain't broke" doesn't mean it can't be improved.
Stride to be your best.