Friday, 27 April 2012

Training is harder than racing!

The title of this blog will to some seem like a really obvious point to be making. Those "some" are generally the community of like minded people all striving to a target. That target might be anything from a 5k to a 100mile run. The principle remains the same. Training is harder than racing.
I believe it can be pretty dangerous to forget how tough training can be. When I'm talking to people at work they will ask what the next race I'm doing is and I understand that is a point of reference for people who may be interested in my insanity. Particularly when I discuss my next race being a 100mile run along the North Downs Way. The truth is, however, that in the grand scheme of things the race itself is the easy part. The challenge comes in ensuring maintenance of a training routine. Following a plan that may be structured over several months. There is always issues that arise resulting in the plan having to be adapted or tweaked. Life doesn't simply give you a gold pass because you are training for a race.

It is really easy to slip up and miss a few days training and for that to turn in to weeks and then suddenly you can be behind and running the risk of not being ready for an event. Now of course "ready" is a relative term. In this context I use it to mean whether one is in a position to achieve the goals they set themselves in their original plan.

If you are following a training plan then that may be adapted and adjusted where required but following should mean the race will take care of itself. This doesn't mean to say the race won't be tough or pose challenges, but a well crafted and, most importantly, executed training plan will see an individual on the start line with the confidence and capacity to achieve their goals.
With the issues already evident to keeping such a long term training plan on track there are then issues such as managing injuries that needs consideration. The point of managing a plan is so that you don't over exert yourself, but equally injuries can come from slipping off a curb, dropping something on your foot or, as in Sam Robson's case, things like falling off your push bike whilst commuting to work. It is in these moments it can feel as if life is conspiring against the training plan.
It's also essential to find a balance of running and family life. With my first baby eagerly anticipated this will clearly become my priority and once again the training plan will be adapted. I can see runs occurring whilst baby and wife are asleep. Good night time running practice. So getting in the time will become even tougher to do but I will have to find a way. Once again training becomes harder than racing.
I love running as much as all other running fanatics, but sometimes there are just days where training can feel like a chore and it is these days that it is crucial to work through.
To this end social networking, in my opinion, has been brilliant for such a loners sport like running. The community is huge and I'm always sharing advice and discussing running plans and it's a great motivational tool. It turns lonely training into a community based activity.
So my next plan is the NDW100 and regardless of what time I do I intend to do well for myself. The truth is that by putting the hours in day in day out they all build to a final moment. The moment is race day. As confident as I will be come race day this will all ultimately be because I know that I've put the training in and that all the challenges I faced over the months means that TRAINING IS HARDER THAN RACING.
This is a challenge all people with targets have to face, but by training hard then I know that I can enjoy race day for every gruelling mile that I will face.
So yes Training is harder than racing. Ask me this just after I cross the finish line of NDW100 and you may, for a moment, get a different answer. This will be short lived as I then prepare for the next race.
Training is certainly harder than racing, but it does nothing to detract from the love of the sport and the memories created along the way.
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