“Find your path, train smart, and never give up!”
Let’s face it! Training is difficult. We approach the beast of an upcoming race with every intention to conquer and defeat the finish line, not to mention, our own doubt.
As an endurance runner, it is common to hear expressions like, “Train-Race-Beer,” (this one by the Ginger Runner), depicting a “work hard-play hard” approach to the sport. This message is everywhere. In fact, while at Whole Foods this morning, my eyes stumble onto the latest Runners World at checkout. Glaring at me are over sized letters on the front cover demanding, “Play Hard, Run Strong.”
On the surface this actually sounds kinda nifty. We all love reward for our difficult to attain goals. However, I think there is a side effect to this approach.
Please do not get me wrong, I LOVE the Ginger Runner, and I read almost every issue of Runners World. The Ginger’s work has been one of the biggest motivators to my own lifestyle change as I enter midlife. I am in no way criticizing his message. What I am calling into question is the extreme nature runners can often fall into, disrupting the very balance we all seek.
Here is the problem as I see it: If we are constantly in a cycle of training hard, and then playing hard as reward, we are always recovering from something. I play like all the others, but play must be measured when approaching extreme.
Maybe we should change the expression! Maybe it should be something like,
“Train hard, have a cocktail, rest with intention.”