“To be a consistent winner means preparing not just one day, one month or even one year –but for a lifetime”
– Bill Rodgers
I have been reading many sports books lately (Open, Sports Gene to name a few). The latest one has been “Marathon Man” about Bill Rodgers. He was a runner who helped to broke running to mainstream and is recommended reading for anyone who runs.
The book is also an eye opening account on how recent phenomenon the jogging phenomenon is. The runners were odd freaks and smoking tobacco was normal. Boston Marathon did not even have water during the early days and Bill Rodgers won the Boston marathon running in oversized Nike shoes. He did it still in 2:09:55. Sports has developed quite a lot, but at the end of the day success is about simple things:
There is no shortcut for not putting the miles. If you want to succeed in running, you have to run and run a lot.
“Only ran once – Shit F*** Fart!! about 13 miles at OK pace at 9:00 AM. too tired to run”
–From Bill Rodgers training log
Especially marathon is not only about just letting it go. It is about listening your body, knowing your opponents and knowing your terrain. Bill Rodgers trained on Boston Marathon route constantly and knew it inside out. He was well prepared to win it.
He was also known as a guy who started out too fast and got burned at the end of the run (recognizing myself here). This handicap also made his great runner. His guts The guy who has the killer instinct will have the final edge. You have to push yourself to limit and then go for the win. If racing does not bring out your intensity, you do not have a change:
“I became intense about the marathon. But I am nowhere near that intense in the rest of my life. In fact, I think running is the only way in which I’m competitive. I have a need to run and sometimes I love it. It’s probably because I wasn’t really good at anything else.”
Or like the late great Steve Prefontaine put it:
“A Lot of people run a race to see who is fastest. I run to see who has the most guts, who can punish himself into exhausting pace, and then at the end, push himself even more”
Sports is a much bigger thing than just competition. It is a way of life. If I do not get my morning training, I do not only feel the physical withdrawal, I also feel the mental effects. Pushing yourself to the limit has a strong spiritual aspect.
“Training need not be an all-or-nothing battle, involving punishing track practice, grueling calisthenics, and wrenching interval sessions every afternoon. It could be a fun and easy cruise through the gorgeous New England countryside. It could be an act of freedom by which I could step outside myself and my racing mind. A long run in nature could even be a way to connect my physical body with the unseen spirit of the universe.”
Although running is a solitary act, you need other people to help and spar you on the way.
“And you can’t do it alone. No one can. Look at Alberto Salazar’s team now. With Bill Squires I learned to work with a group, we all became friends and supported each other. How cool is that? “
– Bill Rodgers
These things are not limited to running, but apply to all aspects of life.