Tuesday, July 8, 2014

FIGHT MEETS FLIGHT: Cross training and Martial Arts – The Half Marathon (Pt. 3)

From the Stick Chick: Today's guest post is the third in a five part series on cross training and the martial arts that will be appearing on Tuesdays (so mark your calendars). Part 1 here, Part 2 here.  Enjoy!

You know the feeling you get during a bout, a belt test, or hard training when your body is out of gas but you still have a ways to go? The feeling when you want nothing more than to stop but something in your mind wills your body to continue pushing? The half marathon was one of those battles.

Preparing for Battle

The human body is an amazing thing. It is built to withstand so much punishment yet our minds cling to comfort. Comfort seems to come at the highest cost – it always tempts you during exertion and once you let it have its way, it keeps you there. Then you regret it.

Training is a physical and mental battle. Belt tests are physical and mental battles. Half marathons are physical and mental battles. Therefore we must train mentally as hard as we do physically.

Half way there!
When I crossed the finish line at the race it justified the struggle I had with myself along the way. By the time I had reached mile 10, I was out of gas. The early start time and the never ending hills took a toll on me – much more than I prepared for even on my full-distance training days.

The last 3 miles were a shouting match between my mind and my body. I wanted nothing more than to walk it out, regardless how it would affect my time. I gave in. I walked the entire 10th mile and I don’t regret a thing.

Why? I just said that giving in to comfort is something you regret…

I learned something about myself in this very moment. I had gotten comfortable in my training. By the time the race started I was convinced I could get through it no problem – just like in training.

What I didn’t realize was that in training you can stop and sit on the bench near the water fountain, you can stop a run short and walk it out if you’re not feeling it, you can stop to deal with that cramp as much as you want, you can avoid the hills. On race day, you don’t do those things - just like you don’t stop a belt test or a bout. You struggle through, or fail.

Even if you push hard and make it most of the time in training, your body will cling to bad habits each and every time you let them creep in – no matter how little they are. We must strive to defeat that negative feeling every time we train, or it trains us.

We don’t quit when we’re tired, we quit when it’s done.

The most effective tool for giving it your all - support!
Though I am very proud to have crossed that finish line, proud of the 16 weeks of hard work it took to get there, I realize that I had not been training to match my expectations on race day. I needed to wake up, eat and run at the same time each Saturday as the 7:30A.M. race time, I needed to train for hills, and cut out any bad habits in training like long breaks or even stopping short – even when it seemed trivial. These habits in training will surface during your performance – and make it a heck of a lot harder.

You must train like you plan to battle. Next race, I plan to shatter my time with my hard-learned lesson in running.

“You can only fight the way you practice” 

― Miyamoto Musashi, A Book of Five Rings

Part 4 of this series can be found here, Part 5 here.

Troy Seeling is a 1st degree black belt and instructor in Tae Kwon Do, with 5 years experience in Boxing and a two-year white belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.  Troy also instructs a strength and fitness class, and helps to manage his families' dojo, North Texas Karate Academy  In his spare time, he enjoys trying different forms of physical fitness, including Olympic weight lifting and distance running. He also enjoys film photography with antique cameras.  You can contact Troy at troyseeling@aol.com.