Are You Who You Say You Are?

A couple of weeks ago I wrote about the little ugly truth no one talks about when they sign up for a marathon – you must live the marathon lifestyle. You can't fake it. With visions of crossing the finish line amid cheers from family and friends, the marathon certainly has attracted most of us runners at one time or another. Sooner or later, ya gotta run one. Or else you're destined to answer negatively to the following question: (drumroll...)

“So, have you run a marathon?”

Heard that one before? I have ;-)

A non-runner will usually pose the question within about 10 seconds of me telling them that I run in races. It's totally cool, by the way. Even if they are feigning interest in my sport, I'm happy to blabber on about it and at least educate someone about my passion!

But why do they ask?

Because if you're a committed distance runner, it's assumed that you like to challenge yourself and the marathon is currently the ultimate running challenge in the non-runner's mind. And it IS pretty challenging, I have to admit!

However, when you sign up for that race you have to keep something in mind. You have to realize you are signing up for a lifestyle. Perhaps a lifestyle makeover, even.

You're signing up for Time Management 101.

You're signing up for Sports Nutrition – perhaps a 400 level class if you've seen the array of products out there.

You're signing up for saying “no” to your friends who want you to stay out late.

I've actually known people whose training never blossomed because they belonged to the wrong social circle! If your friends like to party and you've signed up for a marathon, there's a high likelihood that those friends will be put on the back burner.

I doubt I would have met my wife, Jen, if it wasn't for this fact! She had started growing tired of the late nights and party scene when a Team In Training flyer turned up in her mailbox. Intrigued, she went to an informational meeting and found that she loved the cause (raising money for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society), the team spirit, and the people involved.

Within weeks she had ditched the late nights, had prioritized training, and was going to bed early on Saturday nights so that she could wake up for the Sunday morning long run – with her new circle of friends.

I wonder if she thought she'd be signing up for a husband when she decided to run a marathon?

There's a famous Italian distance running coach, Renato Canova, who recently summed up what I am trying to say and I had a chance to hear him speak at the Distance Running Summit in Charlotte this past January.

"Training is not only what you do in the official workouts.  Training is also how you work, how you eat, how you rest.  In other words, how you live.”

So, I've discussed how this applies to those of you who are training or would like to train for a marathon. But is the marathon the only event that requires this kind of commitment?

What if I would like to run 1 mile as fast as possible?

What if I want to win my age group in a local 5K --or simply run 30 minutes without stopping?

What if I want to turn heads at the beach this summer?

What if I want to fit into the same size jeans I wore in high school and absolutely rock my high school reunion?

All of those goals require a certain lifestyle. And you know what? They're not all that different from one another.

Whether you want to look amazing, feel energetic, or perform better than your peers you're going to have to commit. You can't half-ass it.

If you 'just kinda' want to run a marathon, sure, you can follow a lame plan that has you exercising a few hours per week. And how do you think that's gonna work out for you? That's right. You've got a good chance of ending up lame yourself.

If you just kinda want to make your friends jealous at this summer's wedding because you look incredible, sure, you can cut back on your fries. But if you really want to impress others, but more importantly yourself, then take on a new identity.

Who are you?

Are you a marathon runner?

Are you a competitive age-group athlete?

Are you a healthy, fit and lean person?

If you want to be any of those people, then you need to BEHAVE like them! Do your habits and decisions reflect those of a healthy, lean athlete? If not, then you're just fakin' it.

Adopt the mindset of the person you would like to become and you're more than on your way.  See, it's easy once you know who you are. Your identity makes the choices for you!

Need help with this stuff? It's ok to admit you need help. Let me know.

Now go out and rock your training (lifestyle) like your results depend on it!!