As per usual, today was long-run day. I had an 18 mile long-run on the schedule with a goal pace of 7:30 to 7:50. What I actually did was …
I didn’t quite get the pace that I was supposed to, but I was still very pleased with this run! Given the conditions that we live with here on the gulf coast during the summer, I’ll definitely take it. I made a last minute decision on the fueling for the run, which wasn’t really all that smart. Smart to fuel, yes. Not smart to have not planned it out better. I drank UCAN on the way to the run, when I really should’ve had it an hour or so before we started (it is a time released source of glucose). My pace was definitely fading mid-way through the run, but once the UCAN got into my system, I pepped up and finished the run strong. I really like using the UCAN packets pre-run, because one pouch will sustain you for an entire long run and you don’t have to carry gels. I still get water along the way from random water fountains, bathrooms, spickets on the side of the buildings, etc. but not having to carry gels or a bottle is so nice.
Post-run coffee loft hangs.
And now, onto the main event here, which is my “review” of ‘Meb for Mortals.’ The word review here is probably not accurate though, as it will be more of a summary. I have a very systematic approach when I read non-fiction books. The first step is to actually read the book. The second step is to go back with a highlighter (and a straight edge, obviously) and mark different things that stood out to me. The last step is to make an outline of the book and type out the things that I highlighted. I know this seems overkill and probably is, but I take away so much more from a book if I do it this way. I can read a book in no time, but I have a much greater chance of learning and retaining the information if I do it this way.
The purpose of ‘Meb for Mortals’ is to show everyday (i.e., mortal) runners how to put into practice the training, nutritional and mental principles that Meb has used throughout his amazing career, which includes an Olympic silver medal in 2004 and winning the 2009 New York City Marathon and the 2014 Boston Marathon.
I’ve had people ask me before why I like running so much or how I fell in love with running. It is almost difficult to answer that if the person doesn’t “get it.” There is an awesome quote in the book that I feel like perfectly conveys my love of running. He writes, “If you’re like me, you appreciate how running improves your life. You like how you feel while you’re running and after a run. You like being healthier and more in control of your destiny. You like the camaraderie and the time alone. You like being outside enjoying nature. You like pushing yourself and the satisfaction that comes from working toward a goal. You like how clear-cut it is, how you get out of it what you put into it. You like that you get to do it on your terms, as casually or seriously as you want. You simply like telling yourself, “I’m a runner.””
Um, 1,000 times yes! I’m sure a lot of runners can identify and would agree that is why we run.
So, here are some things about ‘Meb for Mortals’ that stood out to me that I thought will be useful to retain.
Meb has three principles that he applies for success in life and in running: good goals, commitment, and hard work. Note that only one of those items is physical (the hard work) and that the other two are psychological. That goes to show us just how important the mental side of running is.
- Running is well suited to goal setting, because your progress can be quantified and tracked.
- A good goal should have personal meaning. It should be something you want to do for yourself, not just to meet someone else’s expectations. He says, “Let your running be about your own hopes and dreams.”
- A good goal is specific. Goals such as I want to run well or run faster are more subjective and harder to measure, which also means that you might not feel as accomplished when you progress towards the ambiguous goal.
- A good goal is challenging but realistic, requiring you to reach outside of your comfort zone but staying within the realm of possibility.
- A good goal has a time limit. He notes that 3 to 6 months is a good range for most running goals, but also recommends setting yearly and longer-term goals as well. He suggests that you keep track of your training with a log so that you can evaluate your progress each week and stay focused on your goals.
- He recommends having several goals going into a race, staring with your ultimate goal and working downward to several other potential outcomes that would also still be worthy accomplishments.
- He says that having a good goal is the first step and that the hard work is how you reach that goal, but the hard work doesn’t just happen because you have a goal. It comes through commitment.
- He says that commitment means living your life in a way that makes you better prepared to meet your goals. This comes by regularly making decisions that contribute to, rather than detract from, your goals.
- He talks in terms of making choices, not sacrifices. He says that the word sacrifice has a negative connotation and that thinking that you are denying yourself of something can make your goals feel more like burdens. He says that choice has a connotation of working towards something that is important to you. Thinking of your decisions as choices, not sacrifices, gives the feeling that you’re in control.
- He writes, “Just as the marathon is about patience, life is about overcoming obstacles and having patience. Marathons and other successes teach us delayed gratification. The journey sometimes brings out the best in us. Start with one step at a time, then 1 mile at a time, and you will see how far you can go.”
- Success comes from peace of mind, knowing that you have given it your all and done your best.
Hard Work (I plan to break up this final principle, which is where a lot of the meat of this book is, into separate posts).
- Strengthening, stretching and cross-training
What goals are you working towards currently? I’d love to hear about them!