I’ve always been an athlete. I’ve always loved playing sports. And I always followed the “Practice like you Play” mentality. I don’t remember who first told me that phrase, but I always thought of it during practices. I always tried to push myself to work as hard as I did in a game or track meet. I even remember my basketball coach calling me “AP” for “All-Practice”, as in I was named to the all practice team. Haha. Truth be told, working hard in all the practice sessions made the games actually feel easier in comparision.
Nowadays, since I’m older (slightly) and wiser (greatly) I know you can’t go all out all the time. You have to be smart about your training. You don’t want to overdue it and get an injury, or get burnt out. But on my 14 mile long run the other day, I realized something – I should treat some of my training runs as though they were races. Specifically, I’m talking about the preparation for the run. Lemme ‘splain.
This past weekend I slightly overslept both mornings and found myself scrambling to get ready to run. That will not happen again. From now on, I’m going to treat these runs as though they were races. What I mean is, you know how the night before a race people always post photos online of the race outfit they are going to wear the next morning, complete with bib attached? Now personally, I don’t take pictures of the clothes I’m going to wear the next day (not hatin, to each their own), but I DO still get my race gear ready the night before a race. I get my outfit ready, my shoes are by the door, I pack a bag with everything I’ll need after the race (change of clothes, wallet, etc.), I have my Gu ready, I have my water bottle ready, I have my breakfast ready, etc. etc. Everything is consolidated, and kept together in a singular place. That way, when the alarm clock goes off, I just have to put it all on, grab the bag and walk out the door.
This goes for nutrition too. I have been smart enough to start preparing for my long runs by eating better and smarter several days leading up to the run. If you do it that way, you can get your carb levels where they need to be instead of trying to cram it all in the night before the race.
But I need to now also do it with all my running gear too. (B to the W, remember when you only needed shorts, shoes, and a shirt to run, now we have gps watches, road ID’s, advanced hydration systems (water bottles), etc.) The other day I did not like scrambling around in the dark, which made me even later than I was. So from here on out, I’m going to practice like I play.
What about you? Do you have everything laid out the night before training, or do you just wing it when you wakey wakey?