Lessons from track

I’ve often heard from my fellow runners that running is such a great metaphor for life. It truly is–and never does this hit home better than when you are going through a rough patch and you need something to inspire you to focus on positives.

Tonight was our weekly track workout, aka the workout I like least of our three weekly team workouts (shh, no one say anything to the coaches). It’s the only one held in the evening, when we’re all physically, mentally, and emotionally drained from a full day at work–and it also happens to be the workout where you’re going to push yourself more than you do in any other workout of the week. A very tough combo, don’t ya think?

Tough workouts can present an opportunity, though, and that’s when you’re especially stressed and need a good outlet to just work out all of the ARGH and leave it all out on the field. I had a particularly tough Monday and was in dire need of some endorphins, so it was one of those rare moments I was looking forward to the track workout.

A few things stood out to me as I was working out today…

  1. You get out of track what you put into it. Track workouts are all about pushing yourself to your limit, and in so doing, pushing that limit beyond where it was before. There really is no such thing as a bad workout–unless you cheat yourself and take it easier than you really could have, and then, you really have no one to blame but yourself.
  2. You want results, you just put in the work. Our coaches like to remind us to “trust the training.” Sometimes this is hard, but you do it anyway because these guys have years and years (and YEARS) doing this, and they’ve had proven success. You want to complete a marathon? Run your miles. Do your cross-training. Stretch. Get your rest. Eat and sleep well. Do all of this, and you will cross the finish line. It’s that simple.
  3. However much the bad parts suck, they won’t suck forever. And then you get to the good parts, and the good parts are sweeter than you could ever imagine. Getting that medal put on you, getting those hugs and high fives, and… oh yeah, the PERMANENT BRAGGING RIGHTS… suddenly the ice baths and the endless planks and the loop from hell around Lake Mer-suckit–oops, I mean Lake Merced–seem like distant memories.

Life is messy sometimes, and it can be painful and take everything out of you (and then take some more), but as with running, the good parts will come eventually. And you remind yourself that if you can get through a marathon, you can get through anything.

And you will.


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