One of the toughest things to do is practice what you preach. As an experienced distance runner, ex-coach, and currently a road race producer I generally know the proper advice to provide to new athletes. I can tell you the basics of training, when you can do more, when to back off and what to do when something goes wrong. I’m not a genius or anything just well versed in this world of running.
However, when something goes wrong with my personal running I am THE WORST at listening to my own advice. I believe this must happen in all types of industries, knowledgeable people seem to ignore negative signs or factor. Stockbrokers likely take too many personal financial risks; teachers may skip continuing education and I know for a fact that fire fighters love playing with fire. We think we know it all, we don’t need to take it easy for a few days, and frankly we’re unstoppable. The truth is that many experts in their field are in fact thick headed, ignorant to obvious signs of distress and we dismiss all the advice that we would have provided to others.
So here is my current situation. I had a goal of using the Wharf-to-Wharf 6 mile race in Santa Cruz, CA as a season race opener. This event would have led to a half marathon in August in preparation for the full Kauai Marathon on September 4th. Eventually this was all going to be part of the training plan for my first ultra marathon in October and then it all was going to culminate with a 50 mile in December.
Right now I’m stuck at step one with some Achilles tendonitis in preparation for Wharf to Wharf. It’s nothing major, but it could certainly get worse if I was to race on it. Now I know that my big goals are to compete at Kauai and then eventually step up to the ultra world. So why in the world would I still be pressing to run this local 6-mile race that is only the first step of the process? It’s because I’m stupid and I like to give advice but not take it. Luckily the race has yet to happen and it takes writing this training tip to remind me of the true stakes of the situation. I have since adjusted my strategy and I’m letting it go.
Here is another way to say it: it’s like a bad golf shot. After you hit one in the trees, don’t make the 2nd shot worse by getting frustrated and trying to hit it through six trees, over a bunker and onto the green. You’re not Phil Mickelson and it’s probably not going to happen. Instead take a deep breath, punch out onto the fairway and re-approach the hole with a clear vision. In running, if you suffer a setback, the correct move is to back off and make a new plan. Skip that race or that supposedly all-important workout and first get healthy. Then once you’re back to full strength you can attack the next workout or be fully prepared to race.
So I’m skipping wharf to wharf, adjusting my training to ensure I get healthy and then I’ll know that I’ll be 100% healthy on the line of the 2016 Kauai Marathon. Do as I say, not as I do. Apparently there is some truth to that.
See ya’ll in a month. JT