Saturday, April 13, 2013

Tom Osler on Runners Negative Obsessions

I have referenced Tom Osler many times on this blog before.For those who don't recall,he is a former outstanding ultra runner who back in the mid-60's wrote the now legendary booklet,The Conditioning of Distance Runners.Written in a time when precious little sensible distance training info was available, Osler provided the kind of guidance that runners needed.
Tom Osler has an insight into running that isn't as common as one would think.It is a fallacy to believe that former standouts become outstanding coaches and writers in their respective sports.When asked about negative obsessions runners develop in running and racing he ofered the following observations:
"Some runners make a fetish out of never missing a day's training.Their streaks of continuous days running can number into the years.There is probably no direct harm in this. However,it distracts the runner from his legitimate concerns.He should first concentrate on listening to his body.Take a day off  if the body needs it. There is no loss but actually a gain in such actions.
Another obsession runners succumb to is the minimum mileage for the week syndrome. Runners will kill themselves to make that magic 60 miles,or 100 miles,or whatever it might be.Again,this distracts the runner from his first concern.He should be monitoring his training according to how he feels and not according to some preassigned silly number.
A dangerous obsession is the refusal to quit in races.Of course,there is no honor in quitting simply because you are being beaten.There are however times when continuing poses a real threat to your health.At such times,it is the wise runner who quits."
I don't know about you,but I've been guilty of all of the above at one time or another.As I look back, I recognize that it was almost always related to fear or anxiety.I believed that by backing off I would lose "my edge." Foolishness it was!

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