I’m the queen of shuffling things around on my training schedule. And a couple of weeks before Panama 70.3 – boy did I try hard to move around my long run when I realized that the morning it was scheduled on would provide 25 mph winds along with very cold temperatures. But with everything I had going on that week, I just couldn’t work it in anywhere else. So Thursday morning rolled around and I layered on my clothes, chugged my glass of Nuun, laced up the Saucs, and somehow worked up enough motivation to get out the door. I certainly wasn’t looking forward to an hour and forty five minute run in those conditions – was Dallas even supposed to get that cold?
With the wind in my face and a chill running through my bones, I started my first interval. I quickly approached a steep hill (yes we have those in Dallas, you just have to look a little harder!). Huffing and puffing up the hill, into the wind, I glanced down at my watch and caught a glimpse of a pace that would not cut it. I dug deeper, forgetting all about the cold and windy conditions, picked up my cadence, leaned into the hill and gave it all I had. My eyes were watering, I couldn’t move my mouth. (What fun this sport sounds, I know…) After I crested the hill, I talked myself into keeping up the effort through the rest of the interval. Afterall, I didn’t get up at o’dark-thirty to fail a workout. Lo and behold, the self talk worked. At the beep, I glanced down to check my Garmin and realized that I managed to crank out a very solid split. It was in that moment that it hit me.
Embracing the grind means accepting whatever conditions you wake up to when it comes to the weather. Accepting the wind, the cold, the humidity, the heat, the rain, the snow…helps sharpen the athlete. Training well in ideal conditions makes for racing well in ideal conditions, but what happens when the wind’s gusting at 20+mph – the storm is moving in and the waves in the lake are responding – the temperature is heating up and you’re breaking a sweat before you even toe the line? To be ready for anything, we must train in everything. Don’t go out of your way to avoid tough circumstances. Embrace the tough conditions – we become stronger and tougher athletes for it.
“Be a hill seeker!! Most of us try to avoid hills, but what’s so good about flat? Think about it: flat tires, flat hair, flat returns and – the ultimate – flatlining. Life happens on the hills. They’re opportunities to prove to yourself that you’re stronger than you ever imagined. If you never attempt the ascent, you’ll never know the thrill of swooshing down the other side.” -Author Unknown