I’m much better, admittedly, at the number-crunching side of coaching than I am at the inspirational platitudes. So here’s my attempt at a general pep talk. We’re already off to a good start: I’ve used one SAT vocabulary word. Soooo….is this the part where I tell a joke? No? OK, onward.
When I was a young runner, I was convinced that I was a miler. And I had some success by the standards of my immediate environment as such. When I was a junior in high school, I set the school record in the mile with something in the range of 5:15. I figured it would be no time until I was running miles in the 4′s. Fast forward to this week, when I finally ran a mile in under 5:00. Why so long? Because I’m not a “fast” runner…I’m an “endurance” runner.
I love this pace calculator tool on McMillan running, and it’s a good example of what I mean that I’m good at endurance and not good at fast. My marathon PR is 2:35. Go ahead and put that into the tool and it says that “equivalent” performance in the mile is 4:35. I did run in the 4:50′s for a mile, but I’m not going to run anything faster anytime soon…maybe ever. And that’s totally OK. You see, I know now that I’m not really a miler, or a 5k runner, or any short race runner. I’m built to train for and run long races. I’m short and relatively lightweight, I have a relatively efficient and low-impact stride. I’m pretty durable, and can put basically any type of shoe on my foot and be OK. If tested, I’d probably have a big VO2 Max, but I’m sure I have a lower ratio of “fast twitch” muscle fibers and have less explosive muscle capacity (I don’t jump high, throw fast, etc.). So I keep my focus on the marathon, because I know that’s where I have the most genetic and physiological aptitude.
But enough about me…this post is about you. Here’s (finally) the pep talk part. Look back at your training posts and ask yourself, “What do I do well?” Can you bust out short intervals like a champ? Do you get stronger, like me, as the race gets longer? Whatever it is, take advantage of it, and train to improve that discipline. You don’t need to be a marathoner if you never enjoy training for or running a marathon. You can dominate the track instead. Find what you do well, then do it!