There Are No ‘Givens’ With Running

Running is NEVER a given. This is true in a few ways:
running fortune cookie
* ABILTY: You can never get too ‘greedy’ with your running because sooner or later your ability to run will be snatched away in the form of injuries. Injuries STING and though they do heal, it often times feels like an eternity. Injuries come with the territory and they act as reminders to BE SMART. Don’t get overly greedy with miles, don’t forget the value of EASY days, remember to stretch and do the preventative care (icing, core work, etc.) to stay healthy. Injuries also test the fortitude of a runner, you can’t let them suck you into a depressive hole because in order to get through them and back running you have to be both proactive and positive. The worse the injury, the more of those double P’s that you need.

* EXPECTATIONS: Running is full of variables; science tries to help us get a read on most of those variables (nutrition, easy/hard days, training cycles, peaking, etc.) but at the end of the day there is always the margin on unknown. When you train like mad for a race, you do all you can to taper right but on any given day there is that margin of just rolling the dice and hoping the ‘right’ legs show up after the gun goes off.
missing legs
* ACHIEVEMENTS: Play the odds all you want, previous PR’s and credits to a racer’s name do NOT guarantee anything between the gun and breaking the tape. Running and racing presents you with a sort of ‘clean slate’ every day in that you must get up and DO the same thing every day, you are tested by the SAME actions, and fight the same MENTAL battles to get what you want and obtain your goals.

On that last one, there is a really good interview with Meb Keflezighi by way of Competitor.com. I’d suggest you go read it; being that he is 41 it touches of course on ways he fights to stay healthy as a runner, how he is more attentive to his nutrition and how he’s adjusted his training.

Though, my favorite part comes in the last few lines as he addresses the fact that many runners look to him as an inspiration after winning the USA Olympic Marathon Trials and placing 4th at the Olympic Marathon, while being deemed an ‘old’ runner.

“The connection is that your best effort is not always about getting a medal. Once you hit the wall and fall back, it’s hard to push and gain, but that’s what I did in London, and that’s the beauty of running at any level. You fight for every spot, every second. It might be a few seconds for me or it might be 15 minutes for someone wanting to qualify for Boston. You earn it. You have to fight for not. It’s never given to you.”

In running and in racing EVERYONE is fighting, hurting, and pushing themselves regardless of level. Running, despite it’s crazy variables and unknowns, DOES reward hard work and perseverance. Respect it, don’t be greedy with it, cherish it, and then be ready to fight like mad when it is GO time.

1) Name one way that running is never a given and how you most recently were faced with that truth.

2) What is something you do to remind yourself not to ‘get greedy’ with your running?

3) What is something you are currently ‘fighting for’? (ie: race, goal, PR-chase, get healthy, etc.)
best running shirts

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18 thoughts on “There Are No ‘Givens’ With Running

  1. Great post! and sooo true!! I realized running was not a given when I was training for my Ragnar Relay Race and got injured with ITBS.. I had to sit for weeks and my training plans went out the window!! :( I do plan to train smarter this year though and hope for an injury free training plan while I train for a half marathon PR in April! :)

    • ugh, those injuries DO stink!! but i’m so happy u were able to stay positive and are able to refocus on NEW goals…for which, u will kick butt! :)

  2. My knee is always reminding me to not get too greedy – it lets me run, but it also lets me know when I am doing too much. Injuries are just the worst thing ever – staying positive is almost impossible.

  3. I have had to admit, more times than I wanted to, that running is not a given. In fact, right now is one of those times. Dang stress fractures!!!
    The part about not being greedy with running is what I will be working on when I start running again. I have to learn that easy runs are fine (better even) than making every run hard!!

  4. I am not on the running level you all are at. And may be using a walker before I am but I can appreciate every word of this post. Except the part where Meb is considered an “old” runner. Phhht. :-)

  5. Brilliant quote!

    I think this message struck home in Canberra when I raced my last 10km. Lead legs said no – and I had such grand plans.

    I’m fighting for speed (the other kind) :-D

    • hahaha…our speed is WAY more valuable than the crap u get on the streets anyway. ;)
      oh yea, the legs on AWOL…know them…don’t worry, they will return!

  6. I think part of me loves that running has no givens, because it allows for unexpected ‘wins’ as well as those all too difficult challenges. Right now, I am fighting to be injury free over the next 3 – 4 months in the lead up to my half marathon and am doing my utmost to take things week by week and not get too greedy with increasing miles too soon!

    • that is the ever-exciting aspect of running for sure! great job in tackling that half training and keep taking it week by week and assessing along the way! :)

  7. I definitely know running is not a given, although I am thankful every time I get out there and remember how far I have come with running over the past couple of years.
    Today I realised that when it comes to racing, it is not a given to rely simply on the training techniques that I have used before, and that I need to plan more in advance. Study the course and run the race that is in front of me.
    After today’s race I am fighting for my next half marathon time to be better than the one that I just ran, and to come back here next year and beat my time on this course.

    • GREAT perspective!! and first off CONGRATS on finishing the race…those hard fought one are sometimes the ones to be most proud of. and yes, knowing the course and tailoring a race day plan dependent on it is super helpful, and many times if a course is new to a runner they try to do some trial runs ahead of time…so next year, u’ll already know what spots are the hardest to push thru and u’ll be so much more prepared!! so proud of u girl!

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