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HONESTY IS THE BEST TRAINING POLICY
As a competitor and fan of running I’ve learned from my own experiences and from watching other athletes about how to be honest about my training.
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Coach Alex Arslan is a USA Track and Field Level 1 certified coach. He started off his athletic career as a soccer player. After falling just short of playing professionally he began running, and within his first few months saw a marked improvement. At the start of college Coach Arslan joined the Hunter College Cross Country and Track & Field teams. In his very first season he helped lead the team to a cross-country championship.
There are many aspects of training that benefit from an honest evaluation. In this post I expand on two components in particular: (1) your purpose for training, and (2) whether you trust your training.
Why do I run?
Have you ever compared your training plan to that of a training partner, friend, or rival? Have you tried to match or exceed another’s training simply for the sake of feeling better about your fitness? If so, you aren’t alone. With apps and programs like Garmin Connect, Starva, Sweat Mobile, etc., and simply because running is competitive in nature, it’s easy to fall into the trap of comparing yourself to others. One major issue with comparing yourself to others is that you begin to question your own training. I myself am guilty of seriously wondering whether I have undertrained after seeing a friend with a different training program run a goal time of mine for a race. If you’ve done something similar, I recommend you simply let go of all the comparing, and ask yourself, “Why am I running in the first place?”
If your purpose in running is self-improvement, as it is for most runners, then why be over-competitive with others? It’s important to build a running support group, but a coach, and a small circle of training partners are enough to keep you honest about your training and motivated to reaching your goals. Once you’ve built a proper support group, you can start learning to trust in your program, which will allow you to stick to your plan and training paces.
Do I trust in my training?
If you’re constantly changing your plan, then you’re chasing fitness, rather than letting it come to you. In 2014 I chased fitness and didn’t run a single PR. I even felt chronically sick. Then, in 2015 when I finally found the right coach, I committed to his plan, followed the paces he prescribed for workouts, and I ran personal bests from the 5k to the half marathon.
Much like life, in running it’s important to pause and take a look at the bigger picture. You’re probably running for reasons much more important than running faster than a friend or rival. As long as you keep that in mind, you can focus on what really matters- trusting your training. If you follow a plan, in which you truly believe, the fitness will come to you. If you don’t believe or trust in your plan, it’s simply not going to work. Remember that the best way to let fitness come to you is to follow your plan, and while you lace up your shoes on your next run, ask yourself why you run, then stick to the pace for the day!
At the end of the day, honesty is the best training policy.
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