Wednesday was greeted with 4-6 miles of solid running. Oh yes, and some steep hill repeats at near top speed followed by 4×400 on a lesser incline a few miles later just to round out the morning. What great way to get the heart pumping and legs churning. We covered proper form running uphill as well as types of hills and the appropriate recoveries. Now every camper can go torture themselves when they get back home – and no blame me!
A morning activity followed breakfast. Let’s all make excuses. The five teams – The Narwals, The Chosen Ones, The Bruisers, Team Pimp Daddy and the Cougars were charged with coming up with as many ways possible (real or imagined) to complete this statement: “Coach, I didn’t run today because…”
After creating some great lists each team had to nominate two of their best to be voted upon by the whole group. When we reconvened we reviewed the lists and then everyone voted for their favorites. [To keep it fair they were not allowed to vote for their own statements.] And here was #1: “Coach, I didn’t run because 50 Cent decided to take me to the candy store.” Yes, they had to explain it to me. Just ask your runner to listen to their iPod – OK maybe not.
Our afternoon session was focused on the difference of expectations and goals/objectives. Expectations carry with them emotionally charged judgments of good or bad when it comes to performance. Goals and objectives are only things to measure against. If I start to think “I’m supposed to beat insert name)” or “If I don’t hit my goal time today it looks like I’ll never do it” or “If I don’t keep with the pack for the first mile I’m just a bad runner”… then you are setting expectations. These can be set by the athlete, the parents or the coaches. And these are damaging to motivation. Instead replace expectations with goals. These are measurable and objective. If you do not reach a time, a split, or place then you merely have feedback. No more and no less.
The second topic we covered were seven critical irrational thought patterns: perfectionistic thinking, worst case thinking, worth depends on achievement thinking, self-conscious behavior, negative self-labels, over-generalizations, all or none thinking and disqualifying the positive. Most of these hit home for each camper in one way or another. These patterns must first be identified and then countered and reframed.
We needed a break from thinking. Off to the fields we went for kick ball. Four teams were formed. An hour and a half of kick ball and the competitive spirit was satisfied.
The evening was ushered in with “Fire on the Track”. It’s the Steve Prefontaine documentary movie. “Pre” was the best the USA had back in the late 60s and early 70s. He is arguably the greatest American distance runner ever holding numerous records at many distances. He died at 24 on May 30, 1975. I remember that day.
We wrapped up the day with a viewing of videos created at last year’s camp. This is an assignment they are working on. Filming will be on Friday morning and we can’t wait to see what they come up with.