8 Decisions You Need to Make to Run Well
We’re faced with hundreds of decisions every day. To me, running and racing comes down to a lot of seemingly tough decisions that are actually quite easy if you think about what you really want. Here are 8 of my best examples:
1. Running with People
If it comes down to a choice between getting up early to run with people vs. sleeping in and running on my own later…It’s always worth it to peel myself out of bed and run early. Not only is the run more fun, but I also feel more energized for the rest of the day.
If my options are either going to bed at my normal bedtime, or finishing that movie I got sucked into on TV…in the morning, I feel much better about getting good sleep than I do about knowing what happened in the end of that movie.
If I’m considering either running through a new or unusual pain vs. taking an unplanned/unwanted day off…It’s always better to let a workout slide rather than pushing through an injury and suddenly be required to take much more than a day off to heal. As runners, we’re all pretty in tune with our bodies, so it is important to listen to what they are telling us rather than pressing our own agenda upon them.
4. Dressing for the Weather
I’d much rather be a little bit cold at the beginning of my run and then warm up as I go. If I am too comfortable at the beginning of the run, that surely means I will be uncomfortably hot and sweating through all my layers at the end.
5. The Long Run
On a long run, it is always best to keep my eyes peeled for open bathrooms after the ‘first wave’, rather than thinking I can just hold it until I get home…and then eventually frantically searching for less-than-ideal pit stops that will just have to work.
Nutritionally, we’re all making choices, all day long. I’ve found that I feel much better- both physically and mentally, if I choose foods that I would be proud to eat in front of my coach, the athletes I am coaching, my sponsors, my teammates, etc. Rather than peeking into the refrigerator and asking, “What looks good?” I try to ask myself, “What looks good FOR me?” Don’t get me wrong, I also take pride in the fact that I can put down candy, cookies, and ice cream with the best eaters out there, but I feel like I earn some of those ‘free calories’ through running and after I’ve already filled all my nutritional windows for the day.
If life is stressing me out and I feel like I simply don’t have time to train, I will actually be more efficient and feel more clarity about the stresses of my life if I make the time to train.
8. Race Day
During a race, there inevitably comes a point where you have to choose, Do I let up to feel better? Or press on through the pain? What I have learned is that every race is an opportunity to find my true potential, and that it is ALWAYS worth taking a risk. I believe that your brain has the power to override your body’s pain signals that are telling you to slow down. You just need to be prepared to employ that power by wholeheartedly believing that you always have more in you. No matter what, you’re going to have that deep physical pain at the end of the race, this way at least you don’t have to experience that pang of regret you feel when you know you didn’t give your all.
What decisions do you make on a daily basis to be the strongest runner you can be?