Recently, a friend posted that she had run a 10K race, and was horrified to see that her time had slowed down from the same race last year. I reminded her that she has recently run a marathon, and that running techniques would be very different between someone running 6.20 miles versus 26.20 miles.
The point is, that when we train for races, we must decide what distance and pace we are hoping to do – nothing is certain; many things can get in our way of training – whether injuries, starting out too fast and burning out before the end, social events that take us away from our training days, feeling “too tired” to get up early or go out later and many other things. If we forget that we need to train for the race (or actively work on resting and rehabilitating injuries), the race is less likely to be successful, or we get the dreaded “DNF” (Did Not Finish).
The distance matters: an average person can “white knuckle” a 5K (3.10 miles) and even maybe a 10K. But if we want our race to not wear us out, it is important that we put the effort into making our bodies healthy enough that we can have a positive experience in our training and recognize that training, as well as healing from injuries, needs to play a very important role in our lives until Race Day – as one colleague said to me “My goal is to be healthy for race day”. This means we must train appropriately for the race we want to run, and be consistent in our running, as trying to do a marathon at 5K or 10K pace will potentially mean we come up short, or injured.
When it comes to recovery, every day is Race Day, and we get the opportunity to show up in the best form we can be for that day, and to train for the days ahead. Once we start trying to “white knuckle” recovery, and make it through the day without going to meetings, or connecting with healthy people in our lives, we put our recovery at risk. We may be successful for a few weeks, months or even years, but our long-term recovery is put in jeopardy.
“Trust Your Training” is key to recovery: The Big Book teaches that authentic and healthy connection to a Higher Power, to self and to others are key tools to manage recovery, and as we work on trusting in the tools that have been given to us through AA, so we become better advocates in our own recovery. Your “race” and life are going to be different than someone else’s, so don’t try to run their pace if you’re not ready for it. Allow yourself to trust YOUR training and live into the principles that AA teaches, so your life can be a Marathon it was intended to be!