‘Don’t bother going to your race unless you have dragged your body to the last inch of survival in your training runs.’
Benjamin Limo, 5000m World Champion 2005.
The words come from Toby Tanser’s excellent book on Kenyan running: More Fire!
If our hardest runs are our races, then maybe we should be re-evaluating our training; can we really expect optimum race performances if we don’t push ourselves hard in training? Tough training sessions will prepare mind and body for the demands of racing.
William Sigei — a 5,000m world record holder — put it like this: Learn to run when feeling the pain: then push harder.
This attitude is also illustrated in the way Kenyan runners approach hills. Often, runners anticipate hills with horror and fear. They fear the discomfort that comes with running hard up a hill. On the other hand, Kenyan runners typically relish hills. Those who have trained with Kenyans relate the excitement that builds at the foot of a long climb. Why? They do not dread the hill, they view it as an opportunity to train harder, to develop as a runner and make the best of the talents they have. And so should we — whatever they are.
Training is an opportunity, an opportunity to make subsequent runs faster.