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The greatest case of running self-sabotage I have ever seen in my life

Let me recount for you one of the greatest cases of running self-sabotage I have ever seen in my life (and, possibly, one of the greatest cases of self-sabotage in the history of running.)

It is time to rewind back to my days in school when I was on a cross country team.

It was the night before the conference cross country meet.

For a team that had no hope of competing on a state level or attending any other events, this was our biggest meet of the year.

And, I remember that night very clearly: it was not a very nice night. In fact, it was a particularly dark, windy, and rainy night.

That put smiles on all the runner's faces. Cross country runners love the muck & mud that covers the course after an all-night rain storm (even though they would hate to admit this.)

I was sitting with a teammate. It was a guy I was good friends with. We were watching the rain pour.

We were younger guys on the team and this meet was not so important for us. We were only running on the junior varsity team.

However, at that moment, our coaches sent out an email saying that one of the varsity runners was out with illness which meant that a new runner would need to be selected in the morning, at the meet.

We both knew the selection was a toss up between me and him and we started debating who deserved the spot.

The debate went on and on.

Then, in a moment of unexplainable crazed delusion, my friend stood up and said he is going to prove why he deserved the spot.

He ran up to his room and put on his running shorts and shoes.

Then, without another word, he ran out the door into the storm and disappeared.

I didn't see him again until 10PM, 2 hours later.

He still had that crazed look on his face when I saw him again. This time, he was completely soaked from the rain storm.

He claimed he ran over 10 miles that night. He thought that effort made him worthy of the varsity spot.

That strategy didn't pay off for him.

8 hours later, as we warmed up for the meet, the coaches could see something was wrong with him.

He was physically broken from his run last night.

Not including the fact that he was ill from the rain & cold & that he didn't sleep all that much from staying up late.

The coaches made the only choice left to them: me.

I was picked for the varsity team instead.

It was a memorable day. I had one of the greatest runs of my life.

I am fortunate for his self-sabotage as his decision changed my running trajectory forever.

But, he did exactly what you should not do before a run.

The hay is already in the barn before a big race.

You should be tapering instead of logging more "nervous" miles before the race.

There is a science to tapering, too.

If you want to get the science of tapering right, you will want to know your training load leading up to your race so you can gradually ramp it downwards.

Stryd's Running Stress Score is a great way to monitor your training load and make the appropriate decision on how to taper.

You can read about that here: https://blog.stryd.com/2017/01/28/running-stress-score/

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Angus Nelson

Angus Nelson

Angus is a cofounder of Stryd. He has trained for and raced every distance from 50 meters to Half Ironman & is pushing the run power revolution forward!

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