Advice for Runners

From Trail Runner, Inside Dirt newsletter, Feb 27, 2014

Having the wrong gear, being too hardcore and other totally legitimate reasons why you’re having a rough race

 1. My Garmin says the course was 0.67 miles too long. I sure wish the race director had measured the course right. Running the unexpected distance destroyed my race.

2. I could have won if I’d actually trained. But, unlike others in this race, I’ve been really busy lately and just haven’t had the time.

3. I didn’t taper. Tapering is for road runners. I ran long yesterday, so my legs aren’t feeling very lively today.

4. The weather is messing me up. It’s too cold. My muscles won’t warm up. The rain is slowing me down. It doesn’t seem to be bothering anyone else, but that’s probably because they have better rain gear than I do.

5. This non-ultra race was too short for me. I run 100-milers, you know? It takes me 40 miles to get warmed up.

6. My stomach is cramping. It’s not that I’m bad at running; it’s that my stomach is bad at digesting.

7. This is just a training run for me. So, I totally don’t care how I do.

8. My legs hurt. My IT band is acting up. My calves are seizing on me. My quads and hamstrings are shot. If my legs didn’t hurt so much, I’d be killing it at this race.

9. I got lost and ran extra miles. I don’t mean to gloat, but … I probably deserve the win, since I ran more than everyone else.

10. I’m better off DNF’ing. I’m running way below my ability level in this race, so my finishing time wouldn’t accurately reflect what I’m capable of. I don’t want to bring down my percentage on Ultrasignup.

11. I wore the wrong shoes. This course is way muddier than it’s supposed to be. With the right shoes, I would have smoked it.

12. This course is too flat. I train in the mountains. My legs love doing huge amounts of vert. This flat stuff is killing me.

13. The lead pack went out too fast. If they had paced themselves better, I wouldn’t have blown up trying to stay with them.

14. I haven’t been able to run outside much lately. I’ve been skiing all winter, so my legs are still in that mode.

15. I just signed up for this race yesterday. I’m spontaneous like that—so, of course I’m didn’t do as well as these people who “trained” for the race. Training is for people who take themselves too seriously.

If you read this far, I will add one more important piece of wisdom from an unidentified commentator during the 2014 Olympics: “If you get out in front and stay in front, you are going to win the race.”