Monday, August 4, 2014

Meet the Perfect Marathon Runner

Say hello to the perfect marathon runner:

Why, you ask, would a headless mannequin in the ASICS NYC Meatpacking District Store be the perfect marathon runner? Because if you look closely, you can see he has no head.

Our marathon mannequin is sculpted into an ideal running body, a wiry frame with good arm swing and forward-leaning gait. Yes, he has great ASICS gear, from neck to toe, rockin the new Urban Run tee, but more important than anything is his complete absence of a head.

This is important not in a 1790s-France sort of way, not in a Sleepy Hollow-horseback sort of way, but in a metaphorical way that every runner must understand. Let's start with this premise:

That is a list I just created that I hope will be helpful to aspiring marathoners and especially those who plan to do this for as long as they live. Seriously, I know it is vital to use your noggin for positive thought, for awareness of your surroundings, all that good stuff. I'm one of those people who always has said this is 10 percent physical and 90 percent mental.

It's just that part of that 90 percent is knowing how NOT to use your head. I'm just saying that by not using your head, by basically having no head, you can get lasting benefits. Consider:

- If you have no head, you can easily put your last marathon behind you. And you have to put it behind you if you want to run your next one. You can leave it on your wall in the form of a medal, but put the trials and tribulations away and freshly focus on your next scary goal ahead.

- Andy Potts and Ryan Hall each shared a great tip pertaining to this while addressing our ASICS Blogger Challenge Team during brunch after our group run the day before the ASICS LA Marathon in March. Potts pointed with both hands at his own head and said, "You've got to keep it right up here." Don't let panicky thoughts take over. And Hall, well aware that it was going to be in the 80s the next day, told us he never lets himself think that he's hot, or else he will repeatedly think that the rest of his race. In both cases, they are marathon mannequins to a point.

- I have been running basically since the day I quit smoking on Dec. 1, 2006, with some breaks here and there. In the first few years of marathoning, I went through a bout or two of post-partum blues, following up a particularly purposeful race (fundraising and dedications, for example) with a melancholy stretch of wondering how I keep that edge for beastmode training. I got through this by realizing that it doesn't matter. Just don't think about it. Don't worry. The day soon came when I was inspired to run by proposing to my wife at a finish line. Or by being asked by ASICS to run. There is always something that will move you. Just let it flow.

To this last point, just consider this tweet that I saw today on the @BeachBody account. They have a large following and I don't mean to be critical, but these are the kinds of seemingly innocuous tweets that drive me crazy as a runner:

I object to everyone -- usually more corporate fitness accounts -- asking their followers what motivates them. All it does is force the individual to stop and think about how they are motivating himself or herself. Some will suddenly realize there is no real motivation at the moment, that they are just training without a heroic cause or inspirational fellow human. And that is actually doing a disservice to runners. Stop asking runners what motivates them! Please! You're actually doing more bad than good by asking, because you're suggesting they need to go find something.

Know when to be a marathon mannequin like the guy above and just run, run, run, run.

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