Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Focusing on the Task at Hand

Thanks to my husband, I recently had the opportunity to attend a running clinic sponsored by Runner's World Magazine.  Jack Daniels, one of the most well-known and well-respected running coaches in the US, shared from the wealth of running wisdom that he's accumulated over the years.  You can read more about his visit here and here.

I've used some advice from Jack Daniels before, so I was eager to know what he would share with us.  After hearing from him, I want to focus more on my stride rate (to run efficiently, we're to shoot for 180 steps per minute) and my breathing (running at a good pace should result in a breath in over 2 steps and a breath out over 2 steps).  And I want to learn to focus on the task at hand.  This seems very simple, but in a racing situation, and especially in a marathon, it's very easy to get overwhelmed and to fixate on how far I am from the finish.  The distance and time remaining can feel burdensome, crushing, even impossible.

This concept was echoed in a youtube clip showing highlights from this week's LA marathon and an interview with a female runner named Amy Hastings.  Her first marathon, she finished in second place with a phenomenal time under less-than-ideal weather conditions.  She said that she experienced pain different from anything she's never felt before, but that when it came to pushing through and finishing, she began to focus on getting through each quarter mile and then each mile.  Great advice for finishing a running marathon, but also valuable for finishing life's other "marathons" too.

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