When I worked in marketing, this was one of the most memorable pieces of advice given to me by my boss at the time; it was said in the context of presenting and pitching to large groups of people; making eye contact, smiling, and owning the floor.
This advice also carries over to obstacle course racing or any element of endurance sport for that matter. I’m a big believer in making the training harder or more challenging than the event itself, and something I drill to my clients when coaching.
When I was training for the Double Ironman in 2009, I would add in “special” training sessions to my schedule and I believe that these played a great part in getting through the 280 odd miles. The most memorable session being a 15 mile run directly before taking part in a 5k charity Swimathon. The same went for my 100 mile ultramarathon in 2012, I ran 26.2 miles, the marathon distance on a dark January evening once my wife got back from work, I had been looking after my daughter all day, and had all day to think about doing it, telling myself reasons why I shouldn’t. I don’t enjoy training in the evening as I’m much happier training first thing in the morning, getting out before the rest of the family is up. For this race, I also ran 100 miles in six days, which meant running to work, at lunchtime, and to home from work on some of the days.
These sorts of challenges are not only physically but mentally challenging. The aim being with them that when you hit a low point in a race, you can, agree with yourself that it’s bad, yes, but not as bad as the training you undertook to get there in the first place. These sort of sessions are best planned in advance and added sporadically amongst your usual plan. The best training sessions, in my opinion, are those which you quite simply don’t want to do.
So next time you’re planning an easy run or training session, factor in something different, a dip in a pond or a random heavy carry perhaps…
And, on the day of your next Spartan Race, own the course, make eye contact and smile at the marshals and supporters. Be thankful for the position you’re in and be comfortable with being uncomfortable, your mojo will thank you for it!
Marc Trussell is an Obstacle Race and Endurance Coach and the only Spartan SGX Level 2 Coach and Perfect Delta holder in the UK, his website is www.gomarc.net