Saturday, January 12, 2013

Fitting It In

I've referenced Derek Clayton on this site previously.Those who love the sport of distance running must make a point of getting his book Running To the Top. There are certain books about running and runners that should be in every serious runner's library and Clayton's is one of them.
Wait one minute,are there some of you out there who don't know who Derek Clayton is? He is an Australian distance runner who first set the world marathon mark in December 1967 and then lowered it to 2:08:33 in 1969.His record stood for an incredible 12 years.
Derek was an outspoken,hard training runner who believed in doing mileage. I recall years ago there was a push.among some of the top U.S. distance runners to be financially subsidized in the hope that this would help them be competitive on the world scene again. Clayton was blunt as to his feelings on the subject,in a nutshell, and using himself as an example, he said there was no reason for runners not to work.What follows are his views on fitting training in with working and having a family. I think we can all benefit from what he has to say.As a sidenote,if you've been around long enough,who hasn't had a former running buddy say,"I got a job and family now,I don't have the time to run anymore." Derek has this to say to elite,as well as serious runners:
"I don't think that work should be an excuse for poor running habits any more than running should be the reason for sloppy work. The two can mesh successfully. The higher your goal,the more dedicated a runner you must become.This doesn't mean you have to quit your job,leave your family and devote your life to running.It's clearly not worth that but it is impossible to reach your potential in a casual fashion. I was never obsessed solely with running.Running was just the major part of my life around which everything else was built.It was never important enough to exclude my job and family.All people have tasks they have to fit into their lives.I think the important thing is to acknowledge these priorities,such as family and work,and not allow them to become so consuming that you can't reach your running goals.People are amazed to find that during the week I worked at least 40 hours as a civil engineer,did speaking engagements and 150 miles of running.But what is so amazing about doing something that is important to you? Some runners act as though a hard day at the office excuses them from training.Rather than make excuses and fight having to work forty hours a week,I learned to live with it.When I quit fighting the load, it became less of a burden.At that point it became a training tool that helped build my mental toughness.While people I ran with were complaining that work was ruining their running.I was using it to improve the quality of mine."
Two words come to mind after reading the above, one is attitude and the other is prioritizing.Clayton realized that complaining and having a "poor me" attitude would get him nowhere.As he said,he viewed his seemingly intense schedule as one that built mental, as well as physical toughness.Also, I doubt that there was any wasted time in his day.I don't know about you but I see a fair amount wasted time in mine.

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