This post follows on from my last post and completes the guide of how to transform you from “new age softy” to “old skool soldier”
1) Shun the fancy products (drink water, eat food)
I received a complimentary product the other day called ‘Nectar – Sports Fuel Concentrate’ which describes itself as a “high performance fuelling system”. Seriously… A high performance fuelling system. Here is the marketing:
I wasn’t sure whether I was supposed to drink it, put it in my car, or use it to wash my hands. It is reassuring that it is:
It just needs to be:
- gin and tonic
and I’ll buy it. To be honest I’ve had enough of orange liquid that is packaged like a speaker cover on a modified Peugot 106 (see my article on energy gels!). I’ve had enough of milky recovery liquid that is 3 parts klingon and 2 parts echinacea swishing around in my stomach. The old skool soldier doesn’t waste time and money on this rubbish. The old skool soldier drinks water and eats food.
I remember an American interviewer asking Haile Gebrselassie how he prepared for his World Record marathon (2:03:59). Actually what he asked was:
“Haile, what was your fuelling strategy on marathon morning?”
“I ate some toast. With Jam.”
2) Stop worrying about your shoes
I have a friend who is obsessed with running in lighter shoes, or flats. Or those ridiculous huaraches that are so popular with rich white guys who are desperate to imitate the primitive Indians that would actually buy shoes if they could afford them.
I also have some other friends who are amazing runners and there is one thing I have noticed about them: they have absolutely no interest in talking about shoes, trying different shoes or discussing the “barefoot movement”. I remember I bumped into my friend who runs a sub 70 minute half marathon the other day. I asked him about shoes, in particular whether he thought that there was anything to the whole barefoot movement. His eyes glazed over and he said:
“I just wear these old Adidas flats.”
and then we both looked down at his feet. He was wearing non-flats from Asics. My friend looked up and said:
“Sorry… I don’t really keep track of these things… I just have a big box of shoes and I choose a pair at random…”
The old skool athlete doesn’t follow shoe trends. The old skool athlete knows that he can achieve more on a running track with blood sweat and tears than he can ponying around with a pair of vibrams. Don’t be the fat office hamster limping 2 miles in Vibrams, be the lean sweaty animal smashing it out in the 1980s trainers.
3) Do something out of your comfort zone
Sometimes running can become a predictable routine. Every now and then it is great to completely mix it up. Here are some suggestions:
- Run a stupidly long distance (30+ miles) just to “see if you can” (I’ve never done this one)
- Run in extreme weather
- Run (or better still race) an extreme course
- Do a hill session on a 20% plus gradient
- Run with a bunch of people you have never met before when on holiday
- Start a race at a breakneck pace just to see what will happen and whether you can “hang in there”
- Run a distance that you don’t normally do (marathon runners can run 1 mile and 10km runners can do a 20 miler!)
Just get out of that comfort zone. When you get back home you will probably be absolutely slaughtered and you want your partner to have their hands on their hips and be saying:
“I have no idea why the f**k you just did that!”
Then you know you did well.
4) Grow a moustache
To illustrate this point I will describe 3 moustached heroes called Dave (only two of which were actually runners)
David Bedford – Former 10000m world record holder and former Race Director of the London Marathon
Dave Scott – Six-time Ironman Triathon World Champion
David Boon – Australian Cricketer and Drinking Record Holder
Next week I will be cementing this blog’s reputation as a “contradictory load of made up b*****” by encouraging you to “go new age”!