Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Will vs Will

"I believe that in any race you let a guy beat you--and you do let him beat you if you are not absolutely psychologically tuned up to winning at all costs--that creates a precedent that allows you to get beat in the race you care about--that was the sort of attitude that I had...But I had a dual goal in my running, that was to win and to achieve excellence, so I was never happy with a slow,tactical time." Quote by Herb Elliott. We may not win races, but all of us who compete want to achieve excellence in our racing.Elliott touches on a good point in the above quote,for many of us,there often comes a moment towards the end of a race when we allow a competitor to pass us. We may make a momentary effort to "go" with this other person but it's usually a brief and feeble attempt at doing so.In regards to this,Herb is correct when he says that this "creates a precedent that allows you to to get beat in any race you care about." The question we should ask ourselves is,have we come to accept and allow others to go by us as a race nears its end? Are we more preoccupied with just hanging on till we reach the finish line? Let us consider something here: would it be incorrect to say that in the last mile or so of a race that those around you are NOT going to finish in a time that is significantly faster than yours? We probably recognize that it's unlikely another athlete will.If you desire to be stronger and break the cycle of late race collapses I have a few suggestions that will help. First and foremost,you must have confidence in your condition going into a race. If you are the type who races anytime you feel like it or before you are physically ready,then there is not much I can offer here except to say,you reap what you sow.You can't expect to put up a fight if your training hasn't reached the point where you are ready to race.Now,if you have done the training and you are fit,recognize that fact going into races.Next,you must practice and prepare in order to fend off late race challenges. When doing fartlek and other workouts,as you are nearing the end,when the fatigue is beginning to set in,this is the time to pick up the pace for 30 seconds to a minute. Get used to shifting gears as they say, make yourself go faster,keeping in mind that you are holding off a challenger. As you do this,tell yourself to stay loose and relaxed,drop the shoulders,relax the arms,don't in any way tense up.Repetition of this practice is essential in becoming the type of racer you should be.It strengthens you physically and mentally. When that runner comes up beside you in the closing stage of a race, it becomes a contest of wills,his will against yours.You may lose a duel from time to time but it won't be without a fight or for a lack of giving it your all,that's because you've done the work.

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