Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Denying Oneself,An Essential Discipline,and Ultimately,the Key To Athletic Success

This article is for the distance runner who desires to run as well as he possibly can.The title of today's post may be awkwardly phrased but is meant to convey an all too often forgotten piece to the training regimen puzzle,the athlete's ability to be disciplined.As I've said previously,far too many self-described serious athletes believe that all they need to do to achieve personal running success is to train everyday.They go about their daily workout and then live and act like your average non-athlete. Athletes,more than ever before,seem to believe they can have it both ways. If you truly want to be as good as you possibly can,then I say this,you must must control,discipline and deny yourself.Ultimately,as you read in the post, "Are You a Stotan?,"having control and discipline makes for a better athlete as well as a person who is prepared to deal with the challenges of this life. The following,in no particular order,are things that the serious athlete should restrict or deny themselves of. I don't expect readers to agree with all of what I'm about to list but here goes:

1.Deny the urge to overeat and to eat whenever you feel like it. One of the least mentioned mistakes that people do to themselves nutritionally is to eat too much. Everyone it seems is hung up on what to eat, not how much they consume.Overeating is terrible for your health long term and unfortunately has appeared to have gained wide spread acceptance among athletes.Also,unless it's a piece of fruit between meals,eat only at mealtime. When you get into the habit of doing this you will find that you enjoy your meals so much more.

2.Deny the urge to eat crappy foods. I'm talking snack foods,junk foods,sodas,etc. Why would any athlete consume the same type of foods that have made this country the fattest one on earth? These foods are no good for anyone!

3.Deny the urge to drink too much alcohol. Check the data,more than 2 alcoholic beverages a day are unhealthy. The long term effects of too much alcohol can be devastating to one's health. Too many runners drink all week and then do it up big on the weekends. Their rationale is that they've "earned it."

4. Deny the urge to veg out on the couch and watch television. How much TV do you watch a day? This is one activity where less is better. The television is addicting, mind numbing entertainment that will eventually make you limited intellectually. Read books,play games,write,do puzzles.Remember what Cerutty said about the necessity of the athlete developing intellectually.

5.Deny the urge to live vicariously through the lives of professional athletes and teams. I've known so many athletes who have an almost obsessive preoccupation with their favorite team and sports. The world stops for them when their team is playing and it gets real emotional when their team wins, or, loses.Hardly healthy behavior going on here,besides, athletes should be doers,not watchers. Obviously, I'm not talking about those who catch a game on the weekend.

6.Deny the urge to think that just running is doing enough training. Are you neglecting weight conditioning and the exercises designed to strengthen your muscles and tendons? Have you given consideration to swimming,certain types of yoga,circuit training and working out on the types of machines that will develop you aerobically?

7.Deny the urge to keep training "through" an injury. At the first sign of injury it is time to evaluate and seek other ways to maintain fitness while allowing the effected part to heal.Too many athletes cannot control the anxiety that comes with the thought of possibly being injured and foolishly continue training.

8.Deny the urge to get down on yourself when you feel that you aren't making progress. Persistence and patience are the keys to success, look at how you've been training,discuss your situation with someone who is knowledgeable about running.

In closing,there was a time when the athlete was known as someone who lived a little differently than most. People would speak of the way they were disciplined and focused on their sport,you couldn't help but detect the respect that people had for these athletes.These people were definitely unique.We should not forget this,if you say you are a serious athlete,it doesn't matter whether you are toeing the line at the National Championships or doing a local road race, you are as legitimate an athlete as any superstar. Finally, denying yourself sort of reminds me of what Cerutty said about sacrifice and how it relates training,when you love what you do,their is no feeling that you are sacrificing anything in the process.Denying yourself is all part of that process.

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