Monday, January 30, 2012

Running on Faith

Long distance running requires a certain amount of faith; Faith that your weekend 20 miler will be worth getting up at 5:30am for; Faith that you’ll be able to complete the day’s workout in its entirety, despite what your legs are telling you; Faith that the driver coming at you with a cell phone in one hand and a tall vanilla latte in the other is not going to plow you over.

Long distance racing requires a whole other level of faith: Faith that your finely-crafted training program will deliver you to the starting line on race day in the best shape of your life; Faith that the pace which felt slow and difficult during your 10 mile training run will now feel light and easy during your marathon; Faith that when you push yourself to the limit, you can achieve your goals.

Where this faith comes from is, of course, up to the individual. And, is probably a topic best discussed by people other than me - in a forum other than this. However, I will say this: my faith comes from the knowledge that I’ve worked as hard as I possibly can, utilizing whatever talents I’ve been blessed with to achieve whatever goals I’ve been inspired to reach for.

Earlier this year, someone asked me what my running goals were for the upcoming season. Of course, without hesitation, I blurted out, “Running a PR in every distance from the 5k to the marathon!” Upon reflection I added, “But, it would take a miracle for that to happen!” Later, when I had time to think about it, I asked myself, “Why not?” Why couldn’t I make a miracle happen this year?

Webster’s Dictionary defines a “Miracle” as a supernatural event transcending the ordinary laws by which the universe is governed. But, why couldn’t we think of it as a completely natural result of a supernatural effort? Why shouldn’t we, as individuals, be able to (with a lot of hard work and a little bit of luck) transcend the ordinary laws by which the universe is governed?

With this thought in mind, I sat down and designed a comprehensive, full-year training program that I think will get me where I want to go and achieve the things that I want to achieve. It takes some of the concepts that have worked well for me in the past and sprinkles in some new twists that will hopefully keep it fresh and keep me healthy for the duration of the year. And, with the enduring faith that my experience (not my age) will carry the day, perhaps I can transcend some of those pesky, little, universal laws.

This month, I’m working on building an aerobic base with some longer (hilly) runs, tempo runs and slow, but steady hill workouts as the foundation to future success. In between my key workouts I’m making sure to take my “easy runs” easy and mix in some weight/core training. Finally, as the racing season draws closer, I’ll add in some track work for what should hopefully sharpen me for the rigors of the road.

So, as I head into the 2012 racing season (and my 15th year of running) my theme for the year is going to be – “Making Miracles Happen”. Not, “waiting” for miracles to happen or “expecting” miracles to happen, but actually going out (faith in hand) and doing the dirty work required to make a miracle happen. Because, as we’ve learned, even a miracle needs a hand ... 

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