TRAINING FOR ADVERSITY
It has been a brutal winter. I'm sure you've heard. There has been a ton of snow and it has been colder than usual. With that snow and cold came a few of my new, most hated, phenomena: the weather selfie (snapshot of the temperature) the projected forecast panic (a/k/a the "weather alarmist") and the....well......person who's non-stop bitching about the weather keeps it the forefront of your mind constantly. Many of us took extra days off, hit the treadmill, found an indoor track or, just decided to wait till the weather got better. Our training suffered. But more importantly, our mental toughness suffered.
Let's face it....most of us run with the ability given to us by our genes. Sure, we may get relatively quicker or slower based on training and weight, but few of us are going from cutoff chasers to lead chasers in our ultra career. As such, I don't think "running ability" or "training" is the deciding factor in most of our "performance."
I have participated in some difficult events. Some were 100 mile races. Others were long senseless fat-asses. When I have been successful (which I define as completing the event) I have chalked that success up to three things: 1) my ability to eat or drink absolutely anything while running ("nailing the nutrition"); 2) the experience gained from long training runs, pacing and crewing those that know more than me (which is almost everyone); and 3) Mental toughness.
Which brings me to this brutal winter. Or the soon to come too hot summer. Let's also include: the rain, snow, darkness and ice. Let's not forget that when we are training things will happen in our lives: people get sick, family problems, work problems, stress, fear, anxiety, lack of sleep, sleepiness, boredom, sloth and lack of motivation. All of these things are often used as reasons why we take a day off, skip a run, or explain our poor training.
Here's a novel idea: if you want to improve your mental toughness these are all EXACTLY the times you need to run the most. Because guess what? All of these things can hit you on race day. So instead of looking at the 50 mph wind outside and complaining about it putting a damper on your training see it as what it really is:
A TRAINING OPPORTUNITY