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Discomfort is Part of Training

I always dreaded the practices when my high school track coach would send the team out on a town run designed to meander around the streets of Lindsborg. If I remember correctly, it was supposed to be a “recovery run” after a meet. But for me, a sprinter, there was nothing “recovery” about it.

Those lengthy runs were enjoyable for some, but they brought out the worst in me. I wasn’t in shape for running miles. I trained for short bursts of speed. I sprinted 600s to train for my 400s. I was OK with that type of training. Even though the workouts weren’t easy, training for sprints played to my strengths as an athlete.

Distance runs did not. As I plodded along at a pace that felt both maddeningly slow and altogether too fast simultaneously, I thought my lungs might explode. I’m not sure if there’s a thing called sprinter’s lung, but even if not, I have it.

Those runs were some of the most painful workouts for me, physically. They were also humbling. A natural competitor, it was difficult to go from winning stacks of medals in my own events to getting passed by what felt to be an entire track team. All the while, it was just a matter of time until my noodle-legs wanted to quit, and most of the time, I let them. Even when I told myself I wouldn’t walk no matter what, I generally gave in to the temptation at some point along the route.

I’m not proud of that as I look back. I gave up too easily. Even though I always finished the workout and arrived back at school, I didn’t complete it without complaining–even if I just grumbled to myself. I didn’t rejoice in my training. I didn’t agree with my coach’s decision to send sprinters on a distance run. I didn’t see what good it would do me....

Read the rest of this edition of my column, Lipstick & Pearls, at the Hillsboro Free Press.

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