Runners are motivated & goal-oriented. This motivation often causes very poor racing & training decisions. Read: Runners can be dumb. We would have much better/ more consistent results and success if we learned a little more self-control. This involves not only controlling the obvious: poor eating habits, getting to bed early, etc. It also involves the self-destructive training & racing decisions that derail many runners.
Self-control is required in several areas:
- Practice your nutrition, fueling and hydration on every long run to figure out the best strategy. If you are having cramping issues, GI distress or other problems... there is a solution. It takes controlled experimentation to dial in your unique formula for success.
- Pace: Set a realistic race pace based on current fitness. Then run YOUR race. Learn to run the easy days.... EASY... one of the hardest to accept, yet most fruitful pacing lessons. "Banking time" NEVER works. Whether you are racing a mile or a 50K... there is always a price to be paid for going out too fast. This is the most painful pacing lesson.
- Fear Of Missing Out (FOMO) causes as many poor racing & training decisions as anything. The social aspect of running is what draws many runners to the sport. But FOMO causes many runners to lose self-control when planning their weekly workouts and racing schedule. They do not want to miss out on all the fun social runs or hard workouts. Many times they "race" workouts. This leads to staleness, over-training and injury.
- Information Overload - Don't believe everything you read or hear. An argument for /against any training, nutritional or gear idea is just an internet search away. That great workout or nutritional idea that your training partner uses successfully might be the worst idea for you.
- More is Better - one of the oldest trap doors in endurance training. Chasing some magic weekly mileage total has derailed many a runner. We cram in miles to reach some arbitrary number that really means nothing in the big scheme of things. Yes, there are certain base levels of mileage for certain events but you find your own "sweet spot" through conservative progressions over time. Once you find your sweet spot where you optimize performance while minimizing injury... you stay right there. Think of your weekly mileage as a by-product of a sound, smart training program.
The formula is not complicated:
Patience + self-control + long-term consistency + proper ratio of stress/ recovery = long term success.
Link to more training articles: Training Tips
Run Smart. Train Hard. Race Fast.
Coach Kevin is an RRCA-certified Running Coach. National Coach ~ Team McGraw, National Coach ~ St Jude Heroes. He also writes the Memphis Fit blog