By Christine Babcock, Little Wing
2+2=4, 5+1=6, and 5+4=9. But, ______+_______=running success? For a long time, I believed that running success was a lot like a math equation. I assumed that the most successful people in the running world had found the secrets to solve the equation. Their fast times and victories were a result of solving the secret equation. But as I prepared to enter the professional world, my paradigm was shifted. Running success isn’t like a math equation, it is like baking!! And I LOVE baking!! This realization was really freeing!
For those of you that enjoy baking, you will be able to relate. And even if baking is your archenemy, you too can relate because who doesn’t enjoy baked goods? (If you don’t, we need to talk!) When you bake something, you can use a bunch of different recipes and still come out with the same result—a delicious treat! One day it might be banana bread, another day zucchini sweet potato bread, or Reese’s peanut butter cookies, 7 layer bars, Texas sheet cake, or chocolate chip cookies. There isn’t one recipe that rules all other recipes—each one is unique, successful, and sets off a different taste bud party when it enters your mouth.
The same is true with running. There isn’t one recipe for success. There are a lot of different ways that you can achieve similar results. Some people need lots of speed work, others thrive off of tempos, some fartleks, etc. Then add in the number of days one runs a week, the miles they cover, the speed at which they travel, and the other components they incorporate in (weights, abs, forms of cross training, etc.). If you aren’t convinced yet how many different recipes can lead to success, throw in the amount of sleep one gets, nutritional habits, and the shoes one wears. The possibilities are truly limitless!! But if there is one thing that should be included in every recipe, it would be head-to-toe Oiselle gear (we all need to look good!).
With that said, once I realized that there wasn’t one right way to do it, I found much greater freedom in my training. I didn’t have to do what everyone was doing around me—I had to do what is best for me, the recipes that have worked in the past. While that doesn’t mean I can’t experiment with new things, it also doesn’t mean I need to throw out everything to follow the latest trend. Sometimes certain workouts are like your favorite recipes: they give you the confidence and mental strength that no other workout replicates, so turn to them when you need them. But getting stuck doing the same workouts over and over is like only eating your grandma’s chocolate chip cookies for the rest of your life. Eventually it gets boring and you might be missing out on something amazing, like chocolate chip cookies baked with a one-pound chocolate bar.
So my advice would be: don’t believe the lie that there is one way to reach success. Find the recipes that work for you, don’t be afraid to try new ones, and enjoy the process. And, make sure to eat baked goods along the way—they make life a little sweeter!