Can you imagine being such a prolific athlete that you need only 1 name?
Not only is his remarkable speed inspiring, but his true good nature. He runs with joy, with a passion to give back and I’ve never once heard any runner whose shyly asked for a photo or met him at a press event, say anything but “he’s lovely”.
Meeting him right after the Houston Marathon trials, his daughter in flashing Skecher’s hiding behind legs, he was espousing his true love of the shoes and enjoying equally his moment in the sun and his family.
When I’m at home I have a disciplined training and nutrition routine, but when I travel I need to plan ahead because sometimes I don’t know when I might sit down for my next meal. My bag is always pretty heavy when I travel because I fill it with healthy snacks that help hold me over if it’s going to be a long time until my next meal.
If I’m attending a function, I try to find out ahead of time what kind of food they might be serving so we can make alternate plans for dinner if there’s no food or if they’re serving something that might upset my stomach.
Do the Little Things
If you lead a busy life, you probably have limited time to dedicate to your training. You might sometimes be faced with a choice: do you run an extra mile or two, or take that time to dedicate to some stretching, core, and strength?
Always pick the latter, Keflezighi said, especially as you age.
“In my 20s, especially in college, we’d go right out the door without stretching or anything,” he said. “In your 30s and 40s it’s important to warm up, start slowly, wake up your muscles, and stretch well.”
“It’s much better to run one less mile and dedicate five minutes to pliability and strength,” he continued. “Stretching, foam rolling, and recovery [including eating soon after you finish] are important.”
Hard Work Pays Off
He says, “When I think something is hard, I just think back to stories of my family’s journey to get the USA. The sacrifice and hard work for my running is nothing compared to that.” Meb knows hard work pays off in running, and his long and consistent career is testament to that.
Meb mentioned that, after his first marathon, he thought the distance was too hard for him. Then he went to his native Eritrea for a visit. He was reminded of what “hard” really is. He came back rejuvenated. What he thought was hard was no longer hard. It was opportunity and the work required (while running and outside of running) to seize that opportunity was nothing like what many others experience every day.
So Meb works hard both while running and in all of his non-running activities (nutrition, mobility, massage, crosstraining, etc.). I think of him as the “king of the little things” – videos and articles always describe him doing as much non-run training as run training. He says that, at age 39, he has to work even harder on these elements than ten years ago.
Choices, Not Sacrifices
Love. Love. Love. Meb is fantastic for talking about mindset. He also clarifies when he doesn’t eat dessert or goes to bed early this isn’t a sacrifice, it’s a choice to get closer to his goal. Can you imagine making that one shift in thinking?
“Choice has a connotation of working toward something that’s important to you: “I could do this, but instead I’ll choose a different path that will better enable me to meet my goal.”
Monitor your Form
Starting out, I’m mostly telling myself to relax. Once I’m in a rhythm, I start monitoring: Is my cadence okay? Are my shoulders low? Is my posture good? How am I doing?
Late in a race is a great time to focus on your form. Doing so helped me a lot in the last couple miles of the 2014 Boston Marathon. I was extraordinarily tired, the large lead I’d had earlier had been reduced to 6 seconds, and the crowd was going absolutely crazy seeing an American in the lead.
I kept telling myself, “Focus, focus, focus. Technique, technique, technique.” I concentrated on my form and running as smoothly as possible for little segments, like to the end of the next block or until I caught the next woman (the elite women start before the men). This allowed me to keep pushing on to the finish and the win without tying up or getting distracted.
Excerpt from his book Meb for Mortals
Enjoy your training as well as running your race. It is easy to get frustrated with training injuries or pressure of an upcoming race, but take a step back and pat yourself on the back for taking a step towards a healthy and balanced lifestyle.
Outside OnlineNow that you’ve been educated by the master of running with a smile and crushing the expectations of others, what will you do with it?
Will you “say oh that’s nice” and promptly forget about it? Or will you put it in to action?
I challenge you to find one mindset, nutrition or training technique to implement this week!
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