There are as many ways to be a good runner as there are good runners. Everyone is different and unique in their own right and that’s what makes them stand out and be different. As a runner for the last 16 years, I’ve found that what works for me is a function of the role models and coaches I’ve worked with over the years mixed with who I am as a person. I know that for me to be a good runner (and really, a good racer), I need to be well-prepared for each and every run, I need to have adequate sleep to function well, and I need to be myself. If I am those three things, I feel confident and know that I can tackle any run and be at my best on the road during a run or a race.
Every runner needs to be well-prepared to be good at what they do. In that sense, I’m just like everyone else. What I try and do differently is plan and be as prepared for anything as possible – from where I’m going, to how fast and far, to what I’ll think about during the run – well in advance. Running for me is not a spur of the moment activity I do, just to do. For me, and for you, it should be thought out, planned, and executed to the best of your ability. When I think about running in this sense, I am able to put my best foot forward and accomplish my running goal for the day using as little wasted energy as possible. It’s really easy to keep your momentum up when you’re firing off good run after good run; and for me, the more I plan, the better the chances of having a good run.
There’s nothing that ruins me more than being run down and tired. I do not function well when I’m tired. I break down easily, get sick, and then I’m just a mess. When I’m able to get consistent 7-8 hours of sleep, I am at my best as a runner. For a runner, sleep is the most important aspect of training. If you are always in a state of fatigue, you’ll never recover, and if you never recover, you can never get better.
When I’m myself and I’m able to invest in the run I’m in, then everything flows from there. I’m confident in my abilities to run and I have to remember that while I don’t have to run, I choose to run. And knowing that I’m doing exactly what I want to be doing makes me happy and content. I run knowing that I’m keeping myself healthy and hopefully inspiring someone to work as hard as I do to be as good as I’d like myself to be.
What do you do to get the most out of your running?