When Brevity is in Charge: A Running Spinal Tap, Dessert Intervals, and Picking Your Pockets

I’m not one usually short on words; if you think I’m addicted to miles then the rate of which I pound through the English language is probably right on track with what I’ve said of myself many time, “I talk like a chipmunk on crack.” Now, vocal octaves aside brevity is not exactly my strong point.


Okay, not a chipmunk but another furry woodland creature…maybe he ate the chipmunk who wasn’t a runner too??

I trace it back to how my brain operates; way too fast and with a flurry of a billion different things flying around at once. I try to catch them all, and am afraid I usually lose track of most of them. So I feel a bit of pressure to get all these thoughts into words and out of me as fast as possible.

Though, over-explaining things has many a pit falls…mainly you lose your audience. Before I go and prove that point right now, I’m going to say that sometimes all you need is LESS. Being concise can sometimes prove your point the best and actually STICK with you the longest.

“It was kind of like that movie Spinal Tap. I cranked it to 11,” was quoted from Andrew Wheating today in reference to the last 100 meters of his 1500 meter race. He just made his second Olympic Team; and the quote is courtesy of Mario Fraioli, senior producer at Competitor.com and he fired that one out of Twitter on location in Eugene.

I love that quote, hilarity and relatability all rolled into one; Wheating is good with those. While the vast majority of us will never be digging for that extra gear in quest of an Olympic berth, I’m pretty dang sure we all can look fondly of times when the lactic acid, booty-lock onslaught is of epic proportions and we are grappling for one more gear. What is rarer, but the times you will never forget, is when we can surprise ourselves and our bodies seem to offer up that gear…we make it to the line and are still a bit in shock that we did, in fact, pull it off. Makes you sort of in awe of what the body can do when forced; well with proper training and a whole load of working your butt of of course too! You see, all of that, and much more, comes out of me when Mr. Wheating was able to say it all in far fewer words. Brevity.

run for pancakes

Hey, pancakes with chocolate chips could totally be dessert!! Or breakfast…or dinner too for that matter. 🙂

“Ahhh, it’s like dessert!” this is something Julius Achon would often say when our coach would have us do ‘surprise intervals.’ You think you’re done with the workout but, no, it’s dessert time and you have one more. I actually love the surprise interval (yea, glutton for punishment maybe) because it tests your mind more than your body. Julius is chock-full of quips, he should write a book in fact, but forever and always anytime an extra interval is offered up I could smile, for a second at least, and think of dessert…then of course it was a grimace of pain. 😉 [I linked Julius to his Love Mercy Foundation, his charity benefitting orphans in Uganda…please check it out!]

“Picture a string attached to your head and it’s pulling you up,” in reference to form from one genius of a coach. I, along with many, suffer from Hunchback syndrome when I get tired in workouts and races. Form can be tricky to work on, but it’s important too…but this string metaphor really did help me. Maybe it was the visual thing, I pictured myself a sort of puppet, “dance, puppet, dance,”…sorry, I’m a dork, bear with me here…strange maybe but it helped me. Try it out.

“Pick your pockets,” again, this is in reference to form. This one aimed at how your arms should be swinging; you want your hands to swing back to about where they’d just be grazing your bum, hence the pocket-picking. Arms swinging way-ward or across your chest is a huge amount of wasted energy; you want them only moving straight forward and back.

Sure, there are times when an onslaught of chipmunk on crack wordage may be needed, though I’ve found when actually running it can be a lot easier to go short and to the point. Easier to remember, and because sometimes it seems that due to all the oxygen being sent to the muscles, the brain gets a bit of the shaft and you can be ditzy due to running. True syndrome…look it up.

1) What’s a short, or to the point, line, mantra, quote or phrase that relates to running that has helped you?

2) Do you use mantras at all, if so which ones work for you?

3) Trials Talk…bring it up people!
I admit, I get myself into trouble because I’m ‘rooting’ for more people than can actually make it into the top three for a race. So it’s like the mixed bag; on one hand your excited for those who made it and feel bad for those who didn’t…but isn’t that always the case with everything?? Have to say though I’m glad there will be a run-off to decide the whole 100 meter tie thing…I mean a coin-toss would have been pretty weak…just my opinion though!

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8 thoughts on “When Brevity is in Charge: A Running Spinal Tap, Dessert Intervals, and Picking Your Pockets

  1. I like the visuals you give for working on form! i am definitely going to try these out! mantras are HUGE to me and definitely keep me going. I really just try to imagine myself starting easy and then slowly but surely putting one foot in front of the other until i make it to the end. its like the only thing i am focused on is that step or that mile. this has really helped me not to get overwhelmed by the total mileage/distance etc for that day!

  2. I hat e when I use the “this one goes to 11” quote and it flies right by. Same with pretty much every caddy shack or stripes quote I try to use.

    Cool mantras. Some little reminders I try to use are;
    imagine a big magnet at the finish, and in your chest is a special kind of metal, and you are being tugged to the finish line.

    Another I try to do is to relax and slack my jaw. I actually relax it and swing it around. Someone told me once that this is a great way to make all your muscles below a little more loose and not so uptight.

  3. As always, I love this. A crazy awesome mix of tips and story.

    Love the pocket picking tip; I’ll remember that one!

    My favorite at the moment is ‘I don’t stop when I’m tired, I stop when I’m done’. I alway pull it out when I wan to quit.

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