Grit vs Quit
Congrats to Jeff Smith who ran the Robbie Burns 8K in a time of 31:13 for 4th in his age group! Throwing in a mid-season race is a great way to get some extra fitness in, as well as a good benchmark for where you are in your training. If anyone is not running Around the Bay 30K and doesn’t have London, Boston or Toronto marathons on the sched, let me recommend the Around the Bay 5K! You can run it, and then cheer the rest of us 30K-ers on during your ‘cool-down’. It is not a “Test Race” it is a “Gain Fitness” race. Nothing does it like a race for a little V02max bump.
Last week, the New Zealand Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern, announced her retirement. She was the youngest Prime Minister in modern history, and her progressive approach to leading her country was successful and inspired many people in what leadership could look like. In resigning, she was honest and genuine about her reasons. Her reason was that she “didn’t have enough in the tank” to do the role justice. I loved this message. She wasn’t going to white knuckle her way through continuing on at the expense of her other goals (her family and I’m sure many other things), until she was a spent husk of a human, just because that was the (mostly male) culture surrounding her role. She wasn’t in it for the glory or for the love of power. She was confident in how to make the best choice for her to be successful in life, and she made that choice.
Annie Duke is a professional World Champion poker player – one of the best in the world and one of the only women who regularly beats the professional men. One of her top strategies is knowing when to quit. She’s written a book about the subject. Professional poker requires nerve, smarts, and perseverance, yes. But it also requires knowing when to quit IN ORDER TO WIN. This takes a huge amount of inner confidence and not worrying what other people think. I mention her gender because this is particularly hard for a woman playing in a “man’s game” where she is being judged on multiple levels.
I’m bringing up these two scenarios because I can see this type of behaviour play out in athletes a lot. Some people white knuckle their way through a workout or program because they have learned how to be tough and in some way fear judgement – from themselves or others – if they back off. Others know when pulling back will actually get them ahead. It’s not an age thing – I see some younger athletes who just have that inner sense of confidence mixed with self-compassion which allows them to say “this isn’t going to move me towards my goals today”. They can tell their coach when they need to pull back. They have a clear view of their goals, and know what will move them towards vs away from them. They don’t blindly “grit it out” for the sake of it or because everyone else is. I find it interesting, this pull between Grit and Quit (two great books by very smart and cool women). I don’t think they are in juxtaposition with each other. I think we all need a bit of both in order to reach our goals. I think what is hard is being able to do both and swing back and forth. Knowing when to be gritty and when to be quitty. The strongest leaders and most successful and self-fulfilled people can do both. It definitely takes confidence and self-belief. It’s something we can all work towards.
On to tomorrow’s workout! We’re back to hills but we’re going to do SHORT RIVERDALE hills. Let’s meet at the top of the hill at 6:10.
Most ppl in the middle of a build right now have a pretty heavy week. Let’s keep this one short and peppy – this will complement the tempos and long hilly runs we’re doing. It’s always a good idea to bring a little pep back into tired endurance legs at some point mid-program.
2-3 sets of:
3 x Riverdale Hill – fast up, easy down – 2 min rest – 3 min tempo (1:30 out, 1:30 back).
This is designed to be a snappier, harder on your muscles than your lungs and mind workout. Reinvigorating our turnover and power. We shall see…
See you in the a.m.!