I regularly listen to a running podcast called 'marathon talk' for hints and tips on training. it is hosted by Martin Yelling (husband of Liz Yelling) and Tom Williams (UK Director of parkrun).
A recent discussion on the show highlighted the importance of commitment in training. There are two aspects to this:
1. The commitment to turning up in the first place ie not missing a session where possible, getting out there every day to practise. Nae excuses!
2. The commitment you bring with you to each session in terms of intensity, purpose and quality
In terms of number 1, Tom and Martin got into a discussion about the triathletes, Alistair and Jonny Brownlee. Tom had been listening to their coach, Jack Maitland, talking about their commitment to training. There is a cycling group that trains in Leeds called the Chain Gang. Usually 50-100 riders turn up every Thursday night. One particularly wet night in the Spring of 2012 only seven people turned up. Three of those seven went on to win medals at the Olympics this year. They were Alistair and Jonny Brownlee and Lizzie Armisted.
Now of course I can't say that if you turn up to every session you will win an Olympic medal. But the story about training in the rain reminded me of all the children who turn up no matter what for coaching. Their parents tell me that, try as they will, they cannot dissuade them from coming to the club. They are an inspiration and it makes me realise more than ever the duty of care we have to all the children in front of us but perhaps these athletes deserve a little bit extra.
It is their commitment to the session, the enthusiasm, drive and determination they display that makes them a little bit special. I wish I could bottle up that commitment and take a spoonful every day with breakfast. The commitment that we decide to bring to a session is directly proportionate to the amount of value that we gain from a session. And I say decide because, for me, this is the mental side of things. It is never easy. I often want to skip a run, not try so hard, cut a few miles here and there. And I do admit to doing these things. But it's not worth it. You need to set the bar high and try your hardest to meet and exceed those expectations.
And so I will try and take my own advice in the next ten days as I build towards Melbourne Marathon 2012!
- Practice does not make perfect. Perfect practice makes perfect.
www.marathontalk.com if interested in a good running podcast.
Www.parkrun.com if interested in free 5k timed runs for the whole family all over the world!
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