TO TRAIN OR NOT TO TRAIN? THAT IS THE QUESTION.
On Sunday I completed the City to Surf Fun Run, a 12 kilometre (7.2 mile) run from Perth to City Beach in Western Australia. I had run it a number of times before, the first time being when I was 14. It's meant to go something like this; about 12 weeks out from the Fun Run, I start to train with short runs increasing in distance, tempo, and intensity over the next 12 weeks to condition myself to run. I watch what I eat and coming into the last few days before the actual run, I load up on good carbohydrates to ensure I have a good store of energy when I run. During this time, I also stretch to ensure my muscles have enough elasticity to minimise the chance of injury while I run.
When I was younger, I did little, if any of this, because I was active, flexible, lean and able to recover quickly afterwards. As I aged, in my head I still felt the same and even though I am older I am still in better condition than most, so my actual training was almost non-existent although I watched what I was eating as I already do. In fact most of my training consisted of walking around our property looking after the horses, including the big hill that conquers most people. My excuse was the one most people use. I was really busy and couldn't find time to train.
On race day, I arrived, did a few cursory stretches, did a little jogging and bounced a little to warm up. The race was on. I tried to keep my ego out of it, and keep a steady pace. I spotted an older chap, probably around 60, who looked like he ran regularly, and had a wonderful steady even tempo, so I used him as a pacer. I lost him once, but found him a kilometre later. My lungs were working beautifully, I wasn't puffed. My legs moved smoothly, I took regular sips of water and doused my head to keep cool. The only thing that was offering me problems was my calves. They were struggling. Despite my lack of training, I only walked about 300 metres of the course, and maintained a reasonable pace throughout.
My goal was to beat my time that I had set in 1983 of 59 minutes when I was 15. Considering that I am nearly three times that age now, I came in at around an hour and ten minutes. It was a bit hard to tell exactly, because I accidentally stopped my stop watch mid-race. I struggled a bit toward the end as my calves were really hurting, but I was still running. I was quite proud of myself and am pretty happy with my time.
As I sit here writing this, I have spent the last two days, walking like I am 93 years old with two dodgy hips. It made me realise that I should have trained. Next year I will do exactly that and train properly, because I really want to break my best time. Next year will be the one! It also gave me a bit of an epiphany. In life, like running and any fitness plan, we do little training, little preparation, little forward projection, then wonder why we end up with sore calves, torn tendons, sore feet, and any number of pains. If I had sat down, worked out a plan, scheduled in time to train by prioritising the various areas of my life to ensure that I was ready, the result would have been vastly different, I would more than likely have broken my record by a considerable amount. My life has been much the same. If I had taken the time to plan and prepare, I could have avoided a lot of pain.
Do you have times when you were posed the question, 'To train or not to train? That is the question', and decided not to and then wondered why you ended up with pain. Sometimes we don't even know we have to train. Sometimes we don't even know what the training is. If only we took the time. I certainly wish I had taken some time at least to train. What about you? What do you choose?
Wayne Brown is a facilitator and promoter for life change. Contact him at
or listen to his podcasts at www.the7bigquestions.podomatic.com