This morning, I watched Galen Rupps post-race interview at the Olympic Track and Field trials. In case you missed it, Rupp will be running both the marathon and the 10k in Rio this July. To say he is an incredible feat of human speed and power is an understatement. Regardless of how you feel about Alberto Salazar, his athlete Galen is making history.
I’m not going to get into the doping accusations, because that was not what I saw when I watched the race.
I saw Rupp take what he wanted. I saw the accumulation of his hard work and the finish he deserved.
In his post-race interview, he discussed many things including his training and the mindset before the build up. Like me (and all of us) he said he sometimes overworked himself and needed to be reigned back in to avoid injury. He needed to see the long game plan for his training. Rupp spoke about how years ago he remembered Salazar talking about this day, predicting the future Galen had. Salazar told Galen back then that his accomplishments would come with time. He would have to be patient. Galen had no idea back then what he would accomplish.
That resonated with me because I am at the beginning of my long game. I am a relatively new competitor. I don’t have a huge training base. I am starting my journey toward the runner I want to be. This will most likely be a 5-10 year journey as most runners hit their peak in their early 30s.
That thought scared me. When one of my running mentors, Ian suggested this long term plan, I was afraid. I wanted results quicker than that. Training for 6 months for something like a faster PR was doable, but years?
I quickly imagined all the tired legs, workouts and stress. I wasn’t in the headspace to be excited. I just saw all the work I wasn’t ready for.
This is the wrong way to look at a long term plan. What Rupp reminded me is that long term plans do work out and it is worth waiting for. Additionally, I won’t be seriously training that whole time. My year is full of periodization where I train for a race, rest, build a base and then train again. I am currently in the base building phase.
I think my bad week of runs was due to some of this mental stress. I didn’t think rationally about the year. I saw the five year plan as a long build up to one race, not as a split structured time as it actually is. I won’t always be training for one race. I will be doing different races, each with their own rest, base build and then speed sections. It’s manageable to see it this way.
In summary, instead of looking at a single race goal for a few years of training, try seeing it this way:
Each year is split into periods of rest, base and build and specific race training.
Each race is important and fun, coming with its own challenges.
You will not be in training mode for the next five years.
You’re young and have time to enjoy the running and get fast.
Trust the process, follow the plan, the ending result will be sweeter.
I don’t want to burn out early like many other athletes who have competed in high school and college. Taking advice from Galen (and even Salazar), I think I can wait a few years, get more experiences and see what my body can do.
Don’t quit. Good things take time.
I am linking up with Coaches Corner with Rachel, Suz, Debbie and Lora.
What is something you had to wait years for (college, dream job, squat PR) but was worth it in the end?