By Staff Columnist Christopher Mellott
When in doubt…take the hard way. A pretty simple mantra right? Take the hard way not because it will be easy, but because it will be worth it.
When in doubt…take the hard way. Doubt is the key word. If something is supposed to be hard like hill repeats or speed workouts, then work hard, but if something like a recovery run is supposed to be easy… let it be easy.
If it seems too easy then it is probably too good to be true. Run a Boston Qualifier on twenty miles a week? Probably too easy to be true. Runner’s World did an article with data from Strava that supported that runners who qualified for the race ran more miles, went on more runs, and generally ran faster miles on average than non-qualifiers. These runners were doing the hard things.
In life there are multitudes of times when you can choose how you respond to a situation. Do you take ownership over your actions such as speeding or do you blame the person speeding in front of you who didn’t get caught? Take the hard way, take responsibility, and learn from it. When in doubt take the hard way.
“Character is doing the right thing when nobody’s looking. There are too many people who think that the only thing that’s right is to get by, and the only thing that’s wrong is to get caught.”
J. C. Watts
So… when in doubt take the hard way. Don’t half-ass it and only do the easy part or only work hard when somebody is watching you. What that means to me is do the little things, get uncomfortable, and when in doubt take the harder option.
Do the little things. Discipline is hard, going to bed early when you would rather stay up is hard, getting up and running when you would rather lounge around is hard. When you doubt what to do in these situations always take the hard way.
“As humans we need a struggle. We are not happy when it’s easy”– Lazarus Lake
When I come to a decision about my running and I doubt the correct answer, I always want to take the hard way. Run outside in the cold or the comfort of a treadmill? I am going to want to run in the cold. It’s hard and will make me stronger. If there is a decision to run flat trail or uphill, I always choose the one I am going to run harder on, the one that is going to make me a better runner. Get uncomfortable and do hard things because when you get uncomfortable in training you will get comfortable in racing.
I truly believe that who we are is revealed in times of great uncertainty or crisis. When a race gets tough and you want to know who you are? Look inside yourself and see if you are internally smiling because it is tough, because not everybody has willingness to do hard things. When things get tough in a race I find that I end up smiling because it might be hard but I am happy I took the hard way.
When in doubt I encourage you to take the hard way, do the hard things, take the path less travelled. I guarantee you that every experience when I have made the decision to do the work has resulted in better results, happiness and feelings of accomplishment. Take the hard way in life and in your running career…it will be worth it.