Back in 2012 my wife and I were watching the men’s 10,00 meters final from the London Olympics. We were amazed at the come from behind victory by Mo Farah . We were so excited, yelling screaming and jumping up an down, that it terrified our then 1 year old son. You may be asking yourself, “So what? Just because I run does not make me a track fan.” I’m here to tell you that it should. Everyone needs a coach (even coaches). Everyone also needs heroes. People that we can emulate and admire in our fields. Having heroes motivates me to perform well and to get out and train on those days when it’s not so easy. Seeing video footage of Jenny Simpson running through the Colorado snow makes it easier for me to get out the door during my northern California drizzle. Seeing the non-running work that Meb routinely does after his runs makes it easier for me to do my 15 minutes of strength and mobility work after my run. Hearing how Mo Farah spends half the year away from his family to train puts my Sunday long run away from my family in perspective.
Plus it’s a hell of a sport. One you’ve done some running you are more able to appreciate things like Mo Farah closing in 55 seconds. You understand what that means and how fast that is after running nearly 6 miles on the track. Having heroes lets you see the resilience that’s humanly possible. After watching Molly Huddle come in fourth at a world championships because she eased up at the line and then see her simply blow the doors off every other road race for an entire year, you can feel her determination, her drive. That type of grit and performance after a set back can fuel your efforts and let you know that you can come back even stronger after a bad race.
Training practices of the elites won’t always translate into your life but a lot of it can. Rest. Recovery. Focus. Investment. Commitment. All those things apply to each of us and not just to running.
So if you are not a fan of track & field but need a shot of motivation, do yourself a favor and check out some the action at the IAAF World Championships in a little over a week. You’ll definitely be impressed. And quite possibly, inspired.
Enjoy the Run.