This spring I stepped outside of my comfort zone and after much
begging coaxing from Mr. Charming I joined an adult volleyball
league. Let me please explain how I am one of the most unathletic people on the
planet. My entire athletic experience can be summed up with a season of soccer
in the first grade where I complained every time my coach put me in. I was
pretty much just there for the orange slices.
When I tried to explain this to MC he didn’t understand.
“But you love running, and that’s a sport. That means you’re athletic.” –MC
He got me there. Not to put down any runners because of course they are athletes, but I meant more in the team and coordination type of sport. Though let me tell you that off-road running takes a good deal of coordination not to trip and kill yourself.
His point was that volleyball would be even better because it’s a whole team of people working together.
“Your team is there to motivate you keep you going throughout the game.” –MC
This is exactly why I don’t like team sports, and MC was bamboozled by my answer. I’ve thought long and hard about my stance on this and I’ve come the conclusion that in my opinion, runners have (or need to have) more willpower.
When I’m running by myself MC was correct: there’s no one there to cheer me on when I want to give up. That means that I have to work 10 times harder to motivate myself to keep going because there is no one else there to do it. It’s only you and the road and if you can’t push yourself to do it then no one else will.
When no one’s around and you are ready to quit, who would know that you gave up? You would. And I personally think cheating yourself hurts 10 times worse then cheating other people. If you’ll cheat yourself then what won’t you do?
When you want to improve you break out the running watch, do sprints, time yourself, and notoriously check to stabilize your pace. You could give up that last .1 mile. You could sprint 20 seconds instead of 30. You could run a little slower because you "just need to today.” But you are not going to get any faster and so the little voice in your head (and Gwen Stefani’s “Wind it Up”, my power song of choice) tells you not to give up.
You are your sole cheerleader with the exception of race day. But let’s face it, that’s only a small fraction of runs and it was you, yourself, and I that got you through the training to make it to that race day.
Now this still doesn’t mean that runners don’t need the support of family and friends while they train, especially to literally push them out of bed at 5:30am when they want to hit snooze. But once the shoes are on and you are out the door it’s up to you. And you better make it count.