the little things

Awful habits make awful races.
I think it's safe to say that I'm an injury-prone runner. Every season, something seems to derail my training: when I was just a lad in freshman year of high school, it was shin splints. Later, my ankle, then turf toe. My senior year was miraculously injury-free, and I'm really grateful for that.

But it looks like I'm falling back into the cycle of injury, as I've just gotten over a hamstring pull that threw off my workouts for about a week and a half and ruined my indoor debut. I could blame it on shoes, my coach, the weather, the phases of the moon, or Mercury in retrograde, but I know for sure what it actually is.

Me and my bad habits.

It hurts to blame yourself for anything, but I've truly gotten lazy about a lot of things. I've been eating so-so, staying up late, and skimping out on strength and stability workouts. And as a result, my body is starting to break down again. It certainly doesn't feel great to step on the starting line knowing that there's so much more you could have done to prepare, and then under-performing due to lack of fitness. But in a sense, it's kind of exciting.

But Greg, how does sucking translate to excitement?

Good question. I think that having any kind of indication of where you stand now and knowing exactly where you can improve is exciting. After racing badly and looking at my training, I've made some changes. I've been getting my nine hours of sleep each night, eating three full meals and staying hydrated throughout the day, and I've been keeping up with my strengthening exercises. I can feel myself getting stronger and more durable every day, and I can't wait to race again.

So you know how everyone says "It's the little things that count"? Well, time and time again, I learn that it's true. You can be hitting 70 or 80 miles a week, posting on Strava all you want and flexing on Instagram to all your non-runner friends, but don't be surprised on race day when you can't hang on to the pack because you haven't been stretching and squatting, and instead have filled up that time in front of a television screen. You'll learn that it's so easy to fall back into bad habits, but harder to face the reality that you're getting weaker and weaker with every Team Deathmatch you play on Call of Duty.

So while I'm directing all of this at you, dear reader, it's more for me. I need to commit more of my time to building myself up rather than feeding my habits so I can contribute to the things that really make me happy rather than just doing what makes me feel comfortable in the moment. Because when I look back on my career, I want to know that all those little things added up and all those nights spent on the track and in the gym meant something in the end.

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