Regardless of sport, all athletes should train for endurance. No, I have not forgotten to consider the physiological ramifications that result from cellular-signaling and the interference phenomenon. While certainly valid points, a counter-argument can be made that a lack of stamina leads to an increased sensitivity to interference. Interference that results from noise. Noise that echoes from the voice of impatience. Impatience that often arises when one expects to run a swift, smooth, and perfect race.
While I will not advocate for the prescription of a jaunt through the woods for a power-speed athlete, I am still intrigued with cross-country racing. The twist and turns, the highs and lows, and the ever-changing terrain make it nearly impossible for the fleetest of feet to achieve an easy run. Yet through it all, these competitors outlast the obstacles that lie in their way.
Even when natural barriers to speed forge gaps within the herd, time (ironically) still sides with the most endured. With seconds passing and the lead group surging ahead, the reserved runner tackles the ever-changing route trusting that persistence pays off. That by staying on pace, the race will come back within striking distance.
Only hearing the forward progression of his own foot strikes, the patient marksman takes aim at those ahead. Picking off competitors one by one, the capable runner passes those who fell victim to that voice of impatience. The insecure chatter that nudged some into prematurely and abruptly foregoing their established plan of attack, consequently sending them off-pace and into a wild goose chase.
Chasing what seems to be the lead pack, these fatiguing runners reach for footing from a litany of short-term solutions in hopes of gaining ground. Failing to acknowledge that the natural landscape of competition is full of setbacks and surprises, they cast doubt on their own endurance. Enduring beliefs that one should expect to, and can, withstand temporary setbacks along the race route. An assurance that strength gained from every climb will be funneled into speed on a plateau.
Regardless of race distance, endurance gives us each the capacity to see beyond the switchbacks and setbacks that sprinkle the course. Endurance reminds us that we have the capacity for patience. Through patience, we can forego the fatiguing footfalls of the chase, and return our attention back to the trusting rhythm of own pace; because you can’t finish the race if you don’t stay the course.
Go like hell.