Monday, November 26, 2012

Distance Practice Today

I think that today was one of the better distance practices this program has seen in a long time.  We did 1500 m repeats, thirty seconds slower than present mile race pace.  The goal was for each athlete to do three of them.

What made today special was not just the workout, but the way the athletes executed the workout.  When I announced we were going to do them Kenyan Style, that proclamation was met not with dread, but with cheers and enthusiasm   The athletes were excited to be running these intervals in a manner that made it tougher, but more specific to racing.  That was pretty exciting to experience, especially on a dreary cold 30 degree winter day.

Another incident that made me smile was when I offered the athletes some advice on where to start their intervals on the track, so they could finish them closer to the cube.  Less of a walk to get back to relative warmth.  And, a couple of seniors spoke up and said, "We don't need to get back to the cube, the walk is better for us, it keeps us looser."  Which of course it does, but to have athletes choosing to bypass the easy way out is refreshing, to say the least.  It means they are committed to become better runners, no matter how uncomfortable it might be in the short term.

The last example of dedication to running was when two groups, through no direction from me, decided to do an additional 1500 m interval.  The number to stop at was three, but these two groups went above and beyond, and decided to do four of them.  That, ladies and gentlemen  is what separates really good runners from legendary runners.  The conscious decision to suffer through another cold painful interval is a hard one to make.  That training cube was nice and warm, but in order to achieve glory in May, one must choose to suffer in December.  To have the two lead groups do that sets the example of how to work hard and push yourself beyond your perceived limits.

We had a lot of great performances today, 2 guys going under 5:00 in the mile time trial, one of them breaking 5:00 for the first time ever.  Having a freshman in the top mens and a freshwoman in the top womens group not just holding their own, but pushing the pace.  Watching young athletes that have never run a Kenyan run before easily pick up the concept and just dominate the sh*t out of it.  But, it has been a while since we have a had a whole team mentality that points towards working harder than anyone else, without complaint, because one chooses to do so of their own free will.   I know from experience that these are the teams that can endure the long cold winter of tough training and reap the rewards in the warm days of spring.  Great job today, Wolverines!


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