The Red Oval !~
A very good friend of mine, a very successful California High School running coach once described to me track running as 'Carnegie Hall' and road running as 'Rock and Roll. I always appreciated this metaphor..I think it suits it's description perfectly. In professional baseball you are an All Star if you fail 70% of the time. I don't have the exact comparable statistics for track & field but I am 100% certain that in our sport we must dare to fail,we must accept and embrace failure in order to exact and effect change;change both physically and psychologically. As we fail we can take heart that with continued focus and application,dedication we will prevail and as such the failure in the moment is a 'window', a preview into the journey ahead and the new levels of success to come.
For me as both a longtime athlete and coach there is no better place to exemplify this than the track.I affectionately call this hallowed ground 'The Red Oval'. There is no place to hide, completely exposed, good, bad or ugly (and I have been all) in this rarified athletic environment...the track wreaks havoc on inefficiency and yet often my workouts place us in an inefficient state creating the training effect of extreme efficiency, critical for repeatable speed~ perhaps, arguably, repeatable speed is at the very core, heart and foundation of the successful middle distance and distance runner...
Yet, the track is not solely about speed and repeatable speed in of themselves- they are key components no doubt but additional contributing elements are acute pacing, acceleration and efficient recovery on the move~ I.e. The elements that make up a skill set to race mono y mono against an opponent or opponents ~ we learn effectively on the track how to 'drive the car at speed' but also the ability to 'race the car at speed'...
I have written extensively over the years and most recently here in 'Life in the Fast Lane' about these three elements, I have written about them individually but the 'Red Oval' is where these elements melt and mould together to create a relaxed, competent, calm and efficient athlete capable of moving beyond presumed limits in assassin like focused fashion to fail, achieve or possibly surpass the goal and goals and in each scenario to stay in the moment ok with the results understanding that this is just a place in time and that the moment does not define where we came from, where we are or where we are trying to go.....
You want to be a better, tougher, stronger and faster runner? Then head down to your local High school or College Track and enter 'Carnegie Hall' and we all know how to get to Carnegie Hall..Perfect practice !
Walk in peace and let the good times roll !