Posted by: Joe English | February 17, 2013

Training — Keeping Your Eyes on the Prize

running-advice-bugIt seems like I’ve been hitting some familiar and related topics over the last few weeks: keeping yourself focused on the end goal; staying with it when it gets tough; and, understanding how to you keep your workouts from becoming work. Today I want to give you a reminder that when you do put in the time and the “work” you’ll get there. There is a prize at the end of the road. That’s why you do all of this work.

Coach Joe at the Hagg Lake 50K 2013

Coach Joe at the Hagg Lake 50K 2013

Yesterday was my first ultra-marathon in a number of years. I’ve been training for an Ironman-distance Triathlon that’s coming up in a couple of months. In preparation for that race, I’ve been doing some very long workouts and I wanted to get out and log some long miles on my legs to see how that would feel. The race that I was doing was a trail race on single-track with a moderate amount of climbing in it. I know that it was going to be a bit of a grinder and would be muddy and very slippery in sections.

In the early miles of the race I kept reminding myself that the point of the exercise was not to race to win, but to race to train. I wanted a good, high-quality effort, that would contribute to my overall training plan for my upcoming “important” race. And I had to keep this present in my thoughts throughout the day. This was an element in my training plan and I needed to keep my eyes on the prize out there a couple of months ago.

Almost from the start of the race I found myself chatting with other runners. By relaxing and knowing that this was supposed to be something that I was doing “for fun”, I kept it light and kept my mood upbeat. I admit I was a bit of a chatty Kathy through most of the first 25 miles or so. I ended up running in a train with three other runners (two of the top three women and one other male runner). We chatted about our kids, upcoming races, and our training. And they all laughed every time I fell going across bridges.

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