These past few months have been hard—like, really hard—and it doesn’t look to be getting much easier anytime soon. But in a lot of ways, the situation we find ourselves in right now isn’t much different than the circumstances we encounter during a tough race. Here’s some racing advice you can apply to the rest of your life (or vice versa): (more…)
A word that I’ve seen popping up a lot lately in regard to the anti-racism movement is momentum. I used it in my intro to Issue 239 of the newsletter, Kamilah Journét talked about it in last week’s episode of the podcast, and American sprinter Tommie Smith, who silently protested racial inequality by raising his fist in the air on the medal stand at the 1968 Olympic Games along with his teammate John Carlos, mentioned it in this rare interview he gave to Ken Belson of The New York Times.
In a car or anything you have that’s going to get moving, the most momentum it takes is to start, to start the movement. Once the momentum is started, I’m hoping it continues, and it has to continue not in the streets, because it’s already set a foundation, it has to go into the jurisdiction to get to the jurisprudence to get to the White House. We have steps to go. We just can’t stop with walking the streets because they will only go as far as the streets. We have to do it through the paperwork.
Do the work that’s in front of you. The writer Austin Kleon shared this novel advice in a recent blog post:
What I really crave, more than anything, is a continuity to my days. Not an accumulation, the sense that they’re adding up to anything, not necessarily, just a continuity. The sense that one day leads into another leads into another leads into another on and on and on. That they make some kind of chain.
He wasn’t talking about running or training but of course he could have been and everything he wrote would still hold true. A lot of runners (and coaches) put too much emphasis on accumulating something, e.g., the number of miles they *need* to hit for the week, or sketching out the perfect block of training leading up to a race, or thinking that doing X, and then Y, and then Z in a marathon buildup is going to add up to some predetermined result. And what happens? More often than not, we end up stressing over a crappy workout or worry about a missed long run and think it’s all gone to shit. Take Kleon’s advice: Take care of business today and just do the work that’s in front of you. Worry about tomorrow’s assignment tomorrow. If something goes wrong along the way, don’t panic. Adjust and adapt. In other words: Just keep the ball rolling.
My first New York City Marathon experience was a special one, a reminder that running really can bring out the best of humanity: tens of thousands of runners from different backgrounds coming together to face a common—yet uniquely personal—challenge, crowds generating excitement and offering up encouragement along the way, strangers selflessly helping others get to finish line. This is what our sport is all about.
The 97-year-old lobsterman from Maine is still working—not as much as he used to years ago, but he’s the captain of his ship and manning a couple hundred traps, not because he has to, but because it’s what makes him feel the most alive. I love reading about folks like Olson, who never really embrace the concept of retirement because their life’s work is more than just a job. These stories inspire me as I navigate my own journey through life, work, and where the two intersect. I hope to be coaching at least a few athletes and sharing stories about running as long as I’m alive. Sure, some day I’ll coach quite a few less people than I do now and maybe eventually the newsletter and podcast won’t be a weekly thing (and/or they’ll take on different forms) but I can’t imagine not doing what I do to some degree as long as I’m physically and mentally able. To echo Olson, “I never loafed,” he admits. “Sure I’ve earned it. But hey, I don’t want to.”
Check out the complete morning shakeout issue #202.
Sometime in the past week the morning shakeout podcast surpassed 1 million total downloads. I know it’s just a number, but I’ve never hit a million anything in my life. THANK YOU to everyone who has listened in, offered feedback, and/or shared an episode(s) with others. It truly means a lot to me.
Check out the top ten episodes below in case you missed one or just want to revisit some amazing conversations:
Whether in life or running, change is hard. It’s especially uncomfortable when it breaks from years of tradition (i.e. the Boston Marathon men’s professional field start time this past April). And when it happens, not everyone is going to like it. But sometimes change is necessary, perhaps even overdue…
“You get up and run every morning as the sun is rising because you run to celebrate life. You run because it is a form of prayer. You’re speaking to Mother Earth with your feet. You’re breathing in Father Sky. You’re telling them, you’re asking them for blessings. You’re showing them that you’re willing to work for that prayer, for those blessings.”
After spending the past few months purposefully futzing around without any real structure or focus to my running, it’s time to start turning the dial up again so that I can be as prepared as possible to race well at the New York City Marathon on November 3.
The next 4-6 weeks will be spent getting back to basics and reinforcing the foundation that will support the 10-12 weeks of marathon-focused training I’ll layer on top of it. The main objectives right now are to reestablish a theme of consistency from week to week, reintroduce fundamental training elements such as drills, strides, and short hills back into my program, hone the speed a little bit, get my long run back up to 2 hours, and start doing strength work regularly again. The weekly routine won’t be complicated: two hard sessions spaced a few days apart, a long run that gets a little longer each week, one day in the gym with Nate Helming supplemented by additional exercises on 1-2 other days, and a fair amount of aerobic mileage to fill the gaps in between. The challenge for me, as it has been for the past several years, is moving my own training and racing up a few notches on the priority list and making sure it occupies a productive place in my life. Saying no to exciting opportunities, getting my workouts in around travel and work-related commitments, sleeping enough, and making enough time for the people and pursuits that are important to me are the things I struggle with most when I go into “training-mode.” And although I’ve made a lot of progress in these areas the past couple years, it’s always a tough transition when the dial gets turned a few notches to the right.
Follow along on Strava if you’re interested in watching it all unfold and stay tuned to this space for additional updates along the way. My summer running vacation is officially over and I’m excited to get back to work.