If you snooze, you lose

Posted on May 28, 2011

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Last night I had one too many vinos. Combined with far too little sleep, when the dreaded alarm went off, I very nearly opted for repeatedly reaching out for the snooze button and opting for a few more hours between the sheets.

But no. Why?

Not for punishment per se but rather because I have found over the years that running when you’re a little worse for wear, when your head is pounding and your mouth is as dry as a camel’s hoof, that it’s a pretty great opportunity to work on that inner fight … the mental strength that you sometimes need to draw on long after the physical resources are spent.

You see, running a race requires such a huge element of mental strength. Commitment, focus and determination need to overflow long before you even get to the start line so if you can’t commit to a training session just because life got in the way, then you aren’t off to a very good start.

Getting up then, in these circumstances, putting on your trainers, getting out the door and pounding the streets allows you to push yourself that little bit more, to understand how to keep yourself going when you just want to stop, to conjure up responses to all the excuses your mind is throwing at you.

Any race, regardless of distance, terrain or format, will have tough moments, trying times you need to pull through, just like hours in our days, days in our months or months in our lives. Every runner has crystal clear memories of hitting the wall … that dead feeling when you can’t imagine going another step.

But we do. We always pull through them. That doesn’t mean that every race will be finished … far from it. But it means that all is flux and every moment changes. One minute you are exhausted, mentally and physically and a while later, you feel a little recharged. Getting through these trying times is all the more easier when you’ve trained to do so … when you’ve run on tired legs, when sleep deprived or when feeling far from your finest. It’s all about coping with the adversity at hand and moving forward.

Back to this morning … as an added motivator, I did arrange to run with my friend Briony. This of course, meant I’d be letting not only myself down but also a good friend if I dared succumb to a few more hours sleep. I also find it useful to drive to where ever the night takes me so I have no choice but to collect the car on foot the morning after!

So my advice today is next time you wake up after a night of too much fun and feel like death, use this feeling as a great simulation of how you might just feel in the midst of a future race when you have to dig deep and pull yourself through hell one step at a time.

Practice makes perfect so suck it up and get out there …

On that note, I now deserve a little nap … my hard work is done and I might just press that snooze button a few times after all!

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