Here I am considering what I have been doing all along in my various training programs throughout my life. There is so much to say and to share, I’m not really sure on where to start. I’ll just start from the present and see where this takes me. Basically, I feel like I am having an evolution of awareness in terms of my understanding when it comes to performance development in the discipline of athletics. You see, track and field is a very specific, primarily individual, sport that requires much self-discipline and a completely refined physical structure. Basically, if one thing goes wrong, in regards to an injury of sorts in the majority of cases, then the athlete will find it difficult to train and compete. The frequency of this happening is high; thus, making it hard for track and field runners from generating enough financial support to fuel their world-class talent and skill. So much can go wrong and the marketability costs versus the potential rewards isn’t enough for major across the board sponsorship opportunities.
It’s hard to express exactly what I am feeling at this very moment. I’ll do my best to elucidate this feeling in the hopes that it will create an understanding of where track and field, with its myriad of scandals and problems, is at nowadays and a potential way to fix it. By fix it, at this point, I’m going to only touch base on some issues that are dear to my heart. For instance, focusing solely on fast times and distance. Below I am going to share a video off my YouTube page that describes a little bit about what I am starting to change in my own personal training regimen:
As you can see, it’s aptly named, “Running for the thrill of it”. Granted, elite world class athletes aren’t necessarily expected to change their training programs as many of these are tried and proven methods to success. However, what I am pointing to is a deeper understanding of why train in the first place and the present prevalent mental model of time/distance with its laser focus burning away any true enjoyment and contentment many runners dearly need. Look at it this way, there are soul surfers who, even if they compete, find total enjoyment in the waves and are still enjoying themselves when they can’t even get a wave on a flat day. For me this is reflected in running when the time/distance mentality gets overbearing and becomes an obsession. And to be frank, it’s most likely because the pros make money and need these times to win races and to get paid. But herein lies the conundrum. You have a system that is built off of this incessant need to refine the body to produce faster times from which a successful season means more income, but this very same approach increases the chance of injury which in turn makes the marketability of various non 1% athletes (e.g. Not the Usain Bolts, Mo Farahs) less desirable even though they are practically 1% of the world population.
Now, what am I getting at? For me, track and field needs to be more about entertainment than fast FAST times. The other day Nick Symmonds posted on twitter this tweet. What if track and field were 2-3 hour events with high level competition in a venue that was fun and an atmosphere of pure entertainment focusing on winning not total output of speed. In other words, while not disparaging the effort to break and make world records, these events could be properly marketed for maximum brand exposure and maximum financial support for elite athletes. The point is, as beings living on this planet let us not lose sight of what’s important by getting lost in numbers. It’s best said this way, “life is a journey to be enjoyed, not a problem to be solved in haste”.
This brings me to another video I recently shared on YouTube:
As of right now, I see the comprehensive training I am being taught at Fast Twitch South Miami as integral to an athlete’s success. I’m sure I am the newbie here as I’ve relied heavily on my Chen Family Taijiquan training alone in terms of physical health, but I still feel the need to share in case there are others who are unaware of such vital strength and conditioning training. Three key words I’ve heard there that best describes the methodology: Stability, mobility and prehab. Oh, and don’t think for one minute that it’s not hard, on the contrary, besides the strength and conditioning norm, their specificity can take a simple looking movement and make it dastardly hard (i.e. you question if you’re brave enough to continue LOL!).
With all of the above in mind, I think the salient point that keeps coming up for me is the process of trusting life and living life through the understanding that our future is not guaranteed and if we keep focusing and obsessing on that big race or that big goal then we miss so much of the good stuff that is passing us by. Moreover, because of this approach I really do believe that the present marketability of runners is a consequence of this attitude and the only way to change that is to change our perception as we are co-creators of reality with the ability to shape and influence life. Do we want to create a life full of joy and contentment or a life of grim determination? The choice is ours and then the outside world will reflect back for us what we have chosen. Pretty simple if you ask me! 🙂