Since running my last marathon in Colorado in May, I’m back to my regular training. Since resuming I can’t help but notice the benefits my running routine has had in other aspects of my life. As I prepare for Fall races and training in Kenya, I’m noticing subtle changes with my fitness and my ability to process tasks. I attribute this to keeping a routine that involves preparation, resting and simply working diligently each day.
I find the key to my success lies within the preparation. My wife would say I’m quite an organized and detailed planner. The key to my planning involves writing out what I need to do for the week, but I try to allow flexibility within my routine. So, my workouts aren’t totally set in stone. I know during the week I’m going to do some form of speed work and a long run, among other types of workouts. This allows me to still have fun and improve with running, yet not burnout and injure myself.
Taking care of all the little tasks also goes into my preparation. Simply laying out clothes or preparing water bottles the night before workouts makes it much easier getting out the door. I do the same when I’m preparing for a music project. My guitar, music and gear I need for the date is out and ready to go. Our financial advisors usually quote, “People don’t plan to fail. They fail to plan.” Though I’m only 29 years old, I’ve become pretty observant and can usually catch poor planners of all ages. When I look at successful people, I know they’ve done their preparations.
I never understood the saying, “You can sleep when you’re dead.” Although many professionals still do their job well with decent sleep, I can’t help but wonder what level people would perform at on at least 8 hours of sleep. Resting is vital for performing well. Any smart runner will tell you it’s not the tough workout itself that leads to improvement. It’s what you do afterwards that allows you to reap the benefits of a hard session. So, why do we associate a lack of sleep with a badge of merit? Unfortunately the trend in Western culture is to work hard without taking the time to recover. The key should be to work smart, not hard. For me, it’s always quality over quantity.
When I work diligently each day I see more pieces of the puzzle fitting together. When I work my brain, I’m more efficient at processing information. It’s important to alter what you do in order to improve. I always try to challenge myself by modifying what I practice. Comfort feels nice, but it will lead to complacency. You don’t want to underwork or burnout because both will result in becoming apathetic toward your goals. Therefore, we must ask ourselves, “How much time and effort are we contributing in order to reach our goals?”