Running to Race, Racing to Win: Three Important Things to Keep in Mind

Can we just say the Olympic Track Trials action came back with a BANG and it only further backs my theory that the rest days are just as much for the fans who get insanely excited and need a break from the action to rest their adrenal glands and cheering voices.
fast runner
So much to say, and I think the best thing to do is cut to the chase and throw out a few lessons to be learned from today…

* Never forget the importance of a kick. There are two kinds of runners: the ones passing people at the end of a race and the ones getting passed. Sad but true fact, we can’t all win…and while the tricky thing with a kick, and speed, is that to a degree you are genetically predisposed to be a kicker or not. BUT, it doesn’t mean that even us without all those fast-twitch muscle fibers can’t IMPROVE our kicking abilities. It just means that if you’ve got a weakness you need to work on it rather than avoid it and use the excuse, “Well, I just don’t have a kick, oh well.” Work on your base speed (200’s and 400’s) and also work on it when you’re already with tired legs, simulating how you’ll be feeling after the majority of a race already run. To do that, do a workout that is more endurance based (a tempo run or longer repeats) then double back, finishing with some fast 200’s or 150’s.

* Run through the line. Without even bringing up the whole 100 meter tie-snaffu, if you caught the end of the women’s 5k you’ll see my point. How would you feel getting out-leaned for a shot to London…probably not so hot. The thing is it’s one thing to miss out because you got out-kicked and at least were a few seconds behind…but getting out-leaned stings more. Now I’m sure if you sense a runner coming you’ll be high-tailing it and, yes, tired, but never forget that even if you don’t hear someone coming, better safe than sorry. Pretend your shadow is chasing you if you have to and fire all those pistons until you are ACROSS the line.
olympic runner
* Remember the highs and lows. Running has so many ups and downs, and I’ll venture to guess every single athlete at the Trials has hit a point, probably loads more, of times when people around them were scratching their heads and thinking, “Uhh, so you’re going to give up this running thing now, right?” Be it surgeries, horrible strings of races, entire years of set-backs…if you now gathered up the people GOING to London you’d see they all have those lows. They didn’t quit. Now, I’ll argue on the other side and say that yes, there are plenty of runners NOT going to London with those very same lows (those not even at the Trials)…so you want to argue with me. I’ll tell you what all of the people DO have in common, they run because in the end they love running. Their goals and dreams up the ante, yes, and it’s crushing to fall short. BUT, the reason you try is because YOU want to see if you are capable, and to do that you can only know if you try. And if you run because you love it yourself, even if you fall short of your goals you can still ‘fall back’ on that passion…once the sting wears off you’ll still have running for YOU.

The Olympic Trials are awesome peeps…just be careful you don’t cheer yourself to a coronary. 😉

1) What’s a lesson you can take away from the Trials action so far and apply it to your own running?

2) What has been one of your low points, how did you manage it, and how did you keep moving forward?

3) What’s been a high that makes all those lows worth it?

4) All other Trials related fodder…gimmie it!

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8 thoughts on “Running to Race, Racing to Win: Three Important Things to Keep in Mind

  1. I think remembering that things come in highs and lows actually helps me out a lot – it’s worth being realistic when things are going well, but then particularly if they’re not it is good to remember that just because they’re ‘low’ now, doesn’t mean they will be forever!

  2. I agree about the highs and lows thing of running. Not every day is a good day and not every run will be a good run- but you still have to get out there and give it your best shot and hope for the best. But honestly, the best moment was Eaton’s win and the guy who slowed up so he could win it and break the record because he’d already made the trials, that is true sportsmanship right there… and even though that guy won’t get any recognition (see, I don’t even know his name), it shows the spirit of our sport. I can’t wait to watch more of the trials.

    Running high… finishing my half marathon… running low- being diagnosed with anemia. But all in all it’s definitely worth the highs and lows!

  3. Seriously, my excitement is still pumping after watching both of those 5000m finals come down to the last 100m, and eventually, the last 5m!

    As a former sprinter, you will always see me turning it up for the last part of the race and I always try to lean through the line. I thought this made me look silly, but now I’ll take it. I’m sure it’s really, really valuable for a mid-packer like myself… ha!

    • hey, i’d take looking silly any day of the week if it means making it to the line first. 😉 i’ve always been a dork with my lean too…haha…my coach used to make fun of me for leaning even in the times where i didn’t have to…but better safe than sorry, right?! 🙂

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