So, I got to thinking the other day. Yes, this does happen from time to time. And no, it’s not always a good thing.
Anyway, I got to thinking about a comment I hear over and over again from athletes – specifically endurance athletes. If you ask them “why” they do what they do, they often respond that they do it for the challenge. They love the “challenge” of a marathon. Or they love the “challenge” of the ultra-marathon. They enjoy seeing how much discomfort they can tolerate or challenge their bodies to handle.
The common approach to these challenges of course is that we train. We train day in and day out. We train in the rain. We train through the heat. We train though freezing temperatures and sub-zero wind chills. We train in the hills, on the plains and in forests and on beaches.
So, in thinking about this I think most athletes have this all wrong. All that training actually reduces the challenge! If you really want a challenge; if that is truly what you are in it for – to test yourself – to see how much you can tolerate; then really the approach should be quite the opposite. If you truly want a challenge in running your next marathon – don’t train! Right! Think about it. If you don’t train you exponentially increase your challenge on race day! Thereby you greatly increase your satisfaction and sense of accomplishment.
Can you imagine the wondrous feeling of overcoming a challenge by NOT being prepared for it? Training in fact reduces the challenge. We’ve all known someone who entered some race and for every reason under the sun (excuse making) never really trained for it. But since they were entered, they ran it. Maybe they have it right and those of us doing all this training are off base. Don’t train. Take on the challenge head on. You against the distance or the course.
Perhaps this will become a whole new way to view running, cycling, swimming, triathlons, and duathlons. The experience of running a 50 or 100 mile ultra-marathon without training would truly fulfill your sense of accomplishment. The bonus? You don’t waste all that time training. You can just live your life like you do.
What do you think?