In the movie “Unbroken”, Louis “Louie” Zamperini’s brother gives him the advice “if you can take it, you can make it”. This is very true when it comes to most things in life. Most of us will not go through such harsh treatment as Louis Zamperini did, but most of us have been to the point in life where we’ve wanted to quit. I have read numerous blogs, magazine articles, books, and listened to lectures on the subject of mental and physical preparation training. I have realized that that if I just hold on for just one more lap, one more mile, or one more lift, I am stronger and better than I was when I started.
While attending high school, I was on the wrestling and cross country teams, and on many occasions I wanted to quit or at least skip out on practice. I stuck it out and very seldom missed practice, and most days I would stay after practice or do another training session at home after practice. To my amazement I never died or got seriously injured, but I did get better after each training session. Also to my amazement, no matter how bad it seemed or how rough the coach made the training session, I made it to the end of the training and was better than I was before I started that training session. Sometimes I did not realize it until a week later, or after the bumps and bruises healed that I was better, but I always found out at some point it was worth it.
All the talk lately about not needing base training goes against this train of thought. If you never put in the miles “take it” how are you going to do the miles on race day “make it”? At some point during your training for an endurance event you are going to have to push yourself physically and mentally in order to prepare your body and mind for the long day on race day. I am not saying you have to go out and do 150 miles on the bike and then run 30 miles to “take it” to “make it”, but what I am saying is that if you are doing long rides of only 50 miles and long runs of 10 miles, how are you going to be ready on race day to do 112 miles on the bike followed by 26.2 miles of running, all after starting the day with a 2.4-mile swim.
I do understand that everyone is different and everyone has different goals. I do believe in individual training plans and outcomes. I just believe and will always believe that the body cannot perform a task if it has never been exposed to the task at some point. I have found out that for me, a long run on Wednesday with two long rides on the weekend (one Saturday, one Sunday) works best for me. These may not be the length of the full distance I plan on racing, but it makes my body perform when it has already taken a good hard beating from the distance and speed I plan to race at. I know if my body takes the beating of three long days a week, it will take the long stress of an event.
That is my two cents on “take it, to make it”. What are your thoughts on this subject?