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Would you like to lead the life of a professional runner? (Read 452 times)


Revenge of the Nerd

    The ascetic side of being a professional runner has a certain appeal.  I like the idea of minimizing the distractions while focusing on a specific goal.  It's a monk-like existence, without the vow of silence.  Interestingly, the word ascetic is rooted in the Greek askesis, meaning "exercise" or "training".  I suppose we could live the life of a professional runner without being a professional runner.  Now that would take some discipline!

    One of these days is none of these days.

    ~ H.G. Bohn

      The ascetic side of being a professional runner has a certain appeal.  I like the idea of minimizing the distractions while focusing on a specific goal.  It's a monk-like existence, without the vow of silence.  Interestingly, the word ascetic is rooted in the Greek askesis, meaning "exercise" or "training".  I suppose we could live the life of a professional runner without being a professional runner.  Now that would take some discipline!

       

      True that. I could almost recreate Vail's existence. Sleep would be a problem - my son does not believe in it - and I'd do a lot of stroller running. But otherwise? I could totally find a retail job, get up at 4 a.m. and run intervals by myself, and take the little dude out for a recovery run in the afternoons.

       

      Yeah. No. Not really the same thing, is it?

        I have always spread myself very thin between a lot of different interests and hobbies. Sometimes I wish that I had just focused 100% of my efforts on one thing so I could be really good at it now, but I think that is just not my personality. Even if I had the talent I don't think I could give up so much for just one pursuit.

        Auhugh!!


        slogger

          Too old, tubby, and slow to consider life as a professional. Had  lots of friends from college pursue careers in theatre and they've made similar sacrifices. The regional theatre life is not one of dollars and glory.

           

          that said, Ryan works at my LRS and is a super nice guy. the first time he helped me out he was realty thoughtful and patient with my ocd about shoe fit and looked at my running as equal to any other runner. I didn't have a clue about his prospects as a pro until the other guys at the shop were discussing his Olympic trials performance a couple weeks later. Just saw him Friday, as a matter of fact.

            Not trying to brag about it but I probably have more exposure to the "real" professional runners than anybody here.  Heck, I was...well, not quite one but I was on the professional team in Japan and I "managed" lives of professional athletes.  Don't want 9-5 job day in day out?  Yeah, we only went to the office (yes, Japanese "professional" runners still work in the office some) about 200 days a year.  We were away for about 120 days a year; meaning, we were away for training camp.  Some even more.  That alone, some people might say, "Lucky!!"  Well, here's the catch though...  These camps are a perfect opportunity to run 3 times a day.  Our morning workout starts at 6; so you'd better get up before that so you'll be ready for 6AM start....

             

            There will be Osaka Ladies Marathon tomorrow in Japan (starting 9PM tonight US time).  Yoko Shibui (PR 2:19:41) will be running.  I arranged her training camp to prepare for 2009 World Championships in Berlin.  She was in Flagstaff, AZ, for 2 months in June and July.  I was up there with them for 3 weeks.  I've written a blog on that: http://www.lydiardfoundation.org/blog/EntryDisplay.aspx?EntryID=93  I'll give you a bit more details here.  I first went to Phoenix airport to pick up her and her team manager, coming from NY (they had some function to attend there).  Then we were joined by other team members (2 training partners, masseuse and head coach) and we all moved up to Flagstaff.  The first thing, upon arrival, Yoko asked was: "I want to do some laundry..."  She ran around the Central Park at 6AM before she left NY.  Her clothes were still very much wet!!  Moved straight up to 7000+ feet altitude, she went for 1:30 run next morning at 6...  She's doing this relaxing exercises before her runs so that means she'd be up by 5:30 and, by 6AM, she's all done with this exercise and ready to go.

             

            A month before Berlin, she wanted to go the full distance so I arranged her to run San Francisco Marathon (story here: http://www.lydiardfoundation.org/blog/EntryDisplay.aspx?EntryID=92).  The day we left for SF, our flight from Flagstaff was 10.  So we had to leave Greg McMillan's sister's house by 8:30 to get to the airport.  She wanted to run 1:30 and...she missed breakfast.  I guess you could say, to her, running was more important than merely eating.  We got to SF and the first thing we did, guess what, an hour's run to loosen up.  Now, she told us that, she always run a bit 5 hours before the marathon race to loosen up.  Now the race starts at 5:30AM so that means she had to get up at 12:00 to go for "an easy jog" at 12:30!!  Of course, it's San Francisco, we couldn't just let her go around alone!!  We had to get up and ran with her!!  Of course, she wouldn't go back to bed; she has her routine.  By 4, we went down to the start and she would do some "warm-up"...  She won it easily by a mile.  That evening, we decided to take her to a nice seafood restaurant.  I arranged a limo (with 4 of us riding, it turned out not too bad compared to a regular cab) and, as we crawled into it, the first thing she said to the coach was; "Shoot, I didn't get to run this afternoon...!"

             

            I can assure you, their motivation is not "it sounds better than sitting by the desk 9-5..."

             

            THAT's professional.  Routine, as well as attitude.  In fact, they look at "ordinary" people's 8-5 job, thinking, man, that's easy...

            MonkeyBunny


              You can get a taste of the life by attending a 4 or 7 day adult running camp at ZAP Fitness in Blowing Rock NC.  The website does a good job of explaining the athletes and the camp. There are 2 x day runs, lectures, core work etc. The best part is cell phone service is spotty so you can switch off from your day job

              Houston Marathon 1-13-13

              Rock n Roll St. Pete Half 2-10-13

              Gasparilla 15K 2-23-13

              Armadillo 10K 3-9-13

              Ogden Marathon 5-18-13

              Steamtown?

              Baystate?

              The Goal:  Boston Marathon 4-20-15

                That's not bragging, that's a simple fact Smile These stories are fantastic, especially the part about running at midnight in San Francisco before a marathon. I'm going to remember that the next time I start making excuses to myself. In fact, "channel your inner Yoko" might be my new mantra.

                 

                It's a little off-topic, but a 9-5 administrative office job is the easiest thing ever. Bar none. That, paradoxically, is what gets frustrating after awhile.

                 

                 

                 

                Not trying to brag about it but I probably have more exposure to the "real" professional runners than anybody here.  Heck, I was...well, not quite one but I was on the professional team in Japan and I "managed" lives of professional athletes.  Don't want 9-5 job day in day out?  Yeah, we only went to the office (yes, Japanese "professional" runners still work in the office some) about 200 days a year.  We were away for about 120 days a year; meaning, we were away for training camp.  Some even more.  That alone, some people might say, "Lucky!!"  Well, here's the catch though...  These camps are a perfect opportunity to run 3 times a day.  Our morning workout starts at 6; so you'd better get up before that so you'll be ready for 6AM start....

                 

                There will be Osaka Ladies Marathon tomorrow in Japan (starting 9PM tonight US time).  Yoko Shibui (PR 2:19:41) will be running.  I arranged her training camp to prepare for 2009 World Championships in Berlin.  She was in Flagstaff, AZ, for 2 months in June and July.  I was up there with them for 3 weeks.  I've written a blog on that: http://www.lydiardfoundation.org/blog/EntryDisplay.aspx?EntryID=93  I'll give you a bit more details here.  I first went to Phoenix airport to pick up her and her team manager, coming from NY (they had some function to attend there).  Then we were joined by other team members (2 training partners, masseuse and head coach) and we all moved up to Flagstaff.  The first thing, upon arrival, Yoko asked was: "I want to do some laundry..."  She ran around the Central Park at 6AM before she left NY.  Her clothes were still very much wet!!  Moved straight up to 7000+ feet altitude, she went for 1:30 run next morning at 6...  She's doing this relaxing exercises before her runs so that means she'd be up by 5:30 and, by 6AM, she's all done with this exercise and ready to go.

                 

                A month before Berlin, she wanted to go the full distance so I arranged her to run San Francisco Marathon (story here: http://www.lydiardfoundation.org/blog/EntryDisplay.aspx?EntryID=92).  The day we left for SF, our flight from Flagstaff was 10.  So we had to leave Greg McMillan's sister's house by 8:30 to get to the airport.  She wanted to run 1:30 and...she missed breakfast.  I guess you could say, to her, running was more important than merely eating.  We got to SF and the first thing we did, guess what, an hour's run to loosen up.  Now, she told us that, she always run a bit 5 hours before the marathon race to loosen up.  Now the race starts at 5:30AM so that means she had to get up at 12:00 to go for "an easy jog" at 12:30!!  Of course, it's San Francisco, we couldn't just let her go around alone!!  We had to get up and ran with her!!  Of course, she wouldn't go back to bed; she has her routine.  By 4, we went down to the start and she would do some "warm-up"...  She won it easily by a mile.  That evening, we decided to take her to a nice seafood restaurant.  I arranged a limo (with 4 of us riding, it turned out not too bad compared to a regular cab) and, as we crawled into it, the first thing she said to the coach was; "Shoot, I didn't get to run this afternoon...!"

                 

                I can assure you, their motivation is not "it sounds better than sitting by the desk 9-5..."

                 

                THAT's professional.  Routine, as well as attitude.  In fact, they look at "ordinary" people's 8-5 job, thinking, man, that's easy...

                  I could barely handle division III collegiate running.  I would much rather lead the life of a professional baseball player.  We are all talking about this like we have the talent level though.  None of us probably do.  That's what makes pros so amazing.  The combination of talent, work ethic, and motivation is amazing.

                   

                  If I had the talent, I could have played baseball professionally though.  I think my brother and I caused my father's shoulder replacement.  We would hit for hours and hours until my dad couldn't throw anymore all the way through HS.  Then we would go to the batting cages and spend all our money on that.

                    oh yeah, we're definitely saying "if you had the talent..." i guess nobody is going to pay me to run a 45 minute 10k.

                    you are right that talent is not all it takes. Nobby's story about shibui and the SF marathon illustrates how the great are different from the rest of us, i think.

                     

                     

                     

                    I could barely handle division III collegiate running.  I would much rather lead the life of a professional baseball player.  We are all talking about this like we have the talent level though.  None of us probably do.  That's what makes pros so amazing.  The combination of talent, work ethic, and motivation is amazing.

                     

                    If I had the talent, I could have played baseball professionally though.  I think my brother and I caused my father's shoulder replacement.  We would hit for hours and hours until my dad couldn't throw anymore all the way through HS.  Then we would go to the batting cages and spend all our money on that.

                    zonykel


                      By professional, you mean Major League Baseball, right? Minor leaguers don't make that much (unless they got a hefty signing bonus, but that's probably for those picked in the first round of the draft)

                      I could barely handle division III collegiate running.  I would much rather lead the life of a professional baseball player.  We are all talking about this like we have the talent level though.  None of us probably do.  That's what makes pros so amazing.  The combination of talent, work ethic, and motivation is amazing.

                       

                      If I had the talent, I could have played baseball professionally though.  I think my brother and I caused my father's shoulder replacement.  We would hit for hours and hours until my dad couldn't throw anymore all the way through HS.  Then we would go to the batting cages and spend all our money on that.

                      Arie2.0


                      Meat is Murder

                        I like the life that I have now. Having said that, it would feel awesome to win a race or two and I often wonder how it feels. I won't trade what I have for it, tho.

                        The first time I see a jogger smiling, I’ll consider it. - Joan Rivers

                          By professional, you mean Major League Baseball, right? Minor leaguers don't make that much (unless they got a hefty signing bonus, but that's probably for those picked in the first round of the draft)

                           

                          I would have played minors if I could.  After I graduated from college, I joined three local baseball leagues and would get in roughly 50 games each summer.  I did this for about five years, but things slowed down after being married with kids.

                            I kinda understand "talent" for baseball...or football or basketball.  But then what's "talent" for a distance runner?  I'm not saying you don't need any; but it always bug me whenever people use that word as an excuse not to work hard.

                             

                            Yoko has talent--no doubt about it.  She was a decent (not one of the bests) runner in high school.  And, as you said, on the top of that, her other traits; attitude, life-style, what-not...all quite amazing.  It's all combination of that.  She was recruited to Mitsui-Sumitomo team.  But she might have ended up as "one of decent runners" and no more.  What changed her "attitude" was her teammate and best friend, Reiko Tosa.

                             

                            Tosa wasn't recruited.  She wanted to run so she begged to "be allowed" to join the team.  The head coach didn't think much of her.  He thought she could help the team as a care-taker...  I'm going to digress a bit here but, back in 2004, when she made the Japanese national team for Athens Olympics, her training leading up to the trial, Nagoya marathon, was published in the magazine.  Her signature workouts were 20k tempo runs...  Knowing her coach was a Lydiard man, I asked him about this "lack of" volume.  "It's quite deceiving," he said.  "Tosa runs 2-hours in the morning most days..."  As she joined the team, she really poured it in with the volume and ran a lot in the morning before the team's workout in the afternoon.  Rain, shine, snow...she ran tons in the morning.  She had a lot of foot injury problems so she did most of that very slow (very Lydiardesque) but she put in tons of miles.  Her unofficial first marathon took her more than 3 hours.  After all this training, as a "professional" runner, her "official" first marathon was something like 2:30+.  That was 2000--she was third or fourth behind Naoko Takahashi in the Olympic Trial race, Nagoya marathon.  Then she went on to Edmonton World Championships and won the silver medal (Yoko was 4th), made Athens team (finished 5th), finished 3rd at Boston in 2006 (I agented her there), and won the bronze medal, coming from behind in the final mile, at Osaka World Championships in 2007....  Watching all this progress, the entire team, including Yoko, started to run a lot in the morning!!  Like I said, at Flagstaff, they were all running, or you could call it "jogging" 1:30~2:00 right from the first day in the morning...  The team won the national relay championships 6 times in the past 9 years (http://www.lydiardfoundation.org/blog/EntryDisplay.aspx?EntryID=112 ).

                             

                            Most people don't understand, or choose to ignore, the part how hard they work; and just use "talent" as an excuse; "Yeah, if I had talent, I could do that..."  I guess you could call "work ethic" as talent too...

                             

                            I could barely handle division III collegiate running.  I would much rather lead the life of a professional baseball player.  We are all talking about this like we have the talent level though.  None of us probably do.  That's what makes pros so amazing.  The combination of talent, work ethic, and motivation is amazing.

                             

                            If I had the talent, I could have played baseball professionally though.  I think my brother and I caused my father's shoulder replacement.  We would hit for hours and hours until my dad couldn't throw anymore all the way through HS.  Then we would go to the batting cages and spend all our money on that.

                               

                              Most people don't understand, or choose to ignore, the part how hard they work; and just use "talent" as an excuse; "Yeah, if I had talent, I could do that..."  I guess you could call "work ethic" as talent too...

                               

                               

                              One vastly underrated aspect of professional runners is their ability to run without injury too.  That might count as talent.  There were a few on my college team that were excellent runners, but once they got to a certain number of miles, they would break down.  One guy on our team only ran the last three races of the XC season because he got hurt early.  He did a bunch of cross training and still ran under 5 minute pace for the 8k.  He never got way down there again though because every time he tried to ramp up the intensity, he would get hurt.

                                Point taken.  However, like I said about the example of Reiko Tosa, she was quite injury prone.  So was Toshihiko Seko who was known to run up to 50-mile run one shot.  Ralf Doubell of Australia was VERY fragile, yet he won the gold medal in the world record time in 800m in Mexico City at altitude, to be the only non-African to have won the gold medal in middle distance and distance event in that altitude Olympics.

                                 

                                Probably the most important talent, if you call that as a talent and I think it is, is the ability to maintain that passion.  Or perhaps the ability to ignore all those noise on internet about "talent" and "physiology" and maintain focus and do the work.

                                 

                                 

                                One vastly underrated aspect of professional runners is their ability to run without injury too.  That might count as talent.  There were a few on my college team that were excellent runners, but once they got to a certain number of miles, they would break down.  One guy on our team only ran the last three races of the XC season because he got hurt early.  He did a bunch of cross training and still ran under 5 minute pace for the 8k.  He never got way down there again though because every time he tried to ramp up the intensity, he would get hurt.

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