Sometimes when I’m talking running with friends, I’m always struck when they tell me they’re frustrated with racing because they’re not as fast as they used to be. I always ask, “Are you doing any speedwork?” Invariably, the answer is “no.” And I always say, “if you want to run fast, you’ve got to run fast.” Profound… I know.
Getting specific with my training is what keeps it fresh for me. I have a lot of admiration for the guys you hear about that go out and run five miles every day for twenty years. They don’t vary the pace, they don’t vary the route, they just get out and get it done with relentless consistency. I could never do that.
Were I growing up today, I’m quite positive I would be jacked up on Ritalin and sequestered in a special class for the worst ADD kids. Focusing on anything for a particular length of time has been a lifelong challenge for me. The only way I was able to make it through college was by sedating myself with shocking amounts of Copenhagen (snuff). Only with a lower lip bulging with sweet nicotine goodness could I sit for hours at a time doing the reading necessary to meet my degree’s requirements.
The inability to focus extends to my training as well. I need to keep things fresh, I need new challenges every week and speed work is always something of a change up for me. It is always the workout that I give the greatest attention to and am least likely to skip or alter. Before I start one, the anticipation is thrilling. I get butterflies even when I’m just working against myself. Whether a workout is successful or not is just so stark. You’ve got the clock, the measured distance and the times you’ve got to run. If you don’t run them you’ve failed. If you do run them, then you’ve made a significant accomplishment and (in my case) it’s not even 7 o’clock in the morning.
What better way to start the day?