This past weekend I had several friends who participated in the Savannah Rock n Roll half marathon. What an accomplishment! While looking at their pictures, I was filled with great admiration for their dedication and self-discipline in preparation for race day.
Runners don’t just show up for the race hoping that they can push themselves to run 13.1 miles.
They prepare by running regularly to improve their endurance and stamina. I mean…think about how far they have to run! Makes my arches ache just a tad.
You would have to run the length of a football field about 230 times to equal that distance. #jawonthefloor
There is so much that we can learn from runners.
Most race training programs are a 5 day a week commitment. Runners have a plan for their run in order to build up endurance and keep a certain pace.
I’m sure there are days when their schedules are crazy and they aren’t sure how they’re going to be able to do it. But they keep their mind on the goal and make a way despite how they’re feeling. They WILL themselves to do it anyway. Borrowing Nike’s words, they JUST DO IT!
In addition to the physical training, runners must also properly fuel their bodies to be able to handle the physical exertion and muscle breakdown that occurs as they train. Certain foods are good for fueling before a race and others for recovery.
(For any runners reading this, you might be interested in checking out the Best Food For Runners article on Runner’s World.)
Just as a car requires a certain type of fuel in order to run properly, so does your body. If you put diesel fuel in a car that requires regular unleaded, you won’t get very far. I have actually tested this theory.
It wasn’t intentional or as meticulously planned out as a Mythbusters episode but it was a theory I tested and confirmed.
I am NOTORIOUS for waiting until the very last second to put gas in my car….still to this day. This one particular time I pressed my luck, I had driven to work on “E” and planned to get gas at lunch.
Lunch time rolled around and mechanically as I did everyday, I ran out, jumped in my car, threw the key in the ignition and turned to crank. All I got was a little sputter. Realizing I had run out of gas I go back in to see if I can get some help.
Luckily, or so I thought, we found a gas can with fuel already in it. We headed out, poured it in my tank and I hopped in ready to get on with my lunch. I turned the key, it made some noises and NOTHING. Repeated x 3 with a few grunts of frustration. Still nothing. That’s when I learned that diesel fuel doesn’t work well in a car that requires regular unleaded gas. (Ha!)
Also, as unintentional as putting diesel fuel in my car, I have tested putting junk in my body vs. nutrient-dense foods and have also confirmed the theory that your body functions at peak performance when you put the right fuel in it.
There is a camaraderie among runners. They often get together on the weekends to run as a group or run races for a cause.
Having a support system comprised of people who are striving for the same goal can make ALL the difference in the world when it comes to sticking to a plan. When you feel like you are doing something alone, it is so much easier to make feeling-based decisions and quit. Nobody will know, right?
But when you have others who are supporting you, encouraging you and holding you accountable, you put a lot more thought into doing it vs. not doing it. Not doing it requires you to tell someone you can’t and feeling the need to give them a reason. You might scroll through several possible “reasons” in your head, all of which seem lame and not excusable. And the pain of having to tell someone why you can’t becomes much greater than actually doing what you intended to do in the first place.
Support is CRUCIAL!
Fitness + Nutrition + SUPPORT = Success
While this formula works for runners, it also holds true with health in general.
As we are entering the “holiday season,” the temptation to put your health on the back burner will become increasingly more tempting. Those goals you set for yourself at the beginning of the year will have a tendency to fly right out the window and you may think, “I’ll just start over at the beginning of the year.”
I encourage you to finish strong. Finish the race like a competitive runner. They don’t coast or walk to the finish line. When they reach the last leg of the race, they push HARD, giving it their all. And you can do the same.
That doesn’t mean that you can’t enjoy and indulge a little bit. But keep in mind that Thanksgiving and Christmas are each just one DAY of the month. It doesn’t mean the whole months of November and December have to be filled with indulgences.
Keep your eye on the prize (health) and finish the race by giving it your ALL! I will be at the finish line cheering you on to the end.