How does an ordinary person do an extraordinary thing? How do you eat an elephant? The obvious and sometimes commonplace answer is one forkful at a time. This simple and yet potent idea is to take on bite-able bits and chewable chunks. By just breaking up a monumental task into much smaller pieces, manageable fragments the entire task becomes a lot easier to complete.
In running terms this is true of training as well as the race. Nothing is more frightening at the start of the Comrades Marathon than running past a marker board that says “85 km to go”. They count them backwards in that race for the uninitiated. It is a scary prospect, so you don’t even look at the boards; you rather look for the next landmark 15 kilometres away. That is manageable, that I can do. Just 15 kilometres and then I will take stock and move on from there.
My eye recently caught a Facebook request from a novice runner wondering about tackling the Comrades Marathon soon. If I start now can I do it next year? How many ask this question, many I think. The starting point of this is the clear understanding of the ‘biteable bits, chewable chunks’ principal. This is the stuff that heroes and legends are made of.
So where do we begin? Get the habits right, learn to run regularly, learn to run at least three to five times a week, once on the weekend. Don’t worry about distance. In fact that will come a long way down the road, not now. And if the Comrades is just not your bag, still, get the habits right, that is the bite-able bit for now. Just get up and run. Make it part of your daily and weekly routine.
Many tell me they don’t have the time to run, what with a busy schedule and the kids and work. Well that is the first chewable chunk – find the time, wake up early and organise all around you so that you can create the habit of running regularly. Once this has been conquered, we will go onto more heroic things, but for now, get the disciplines right. Commitment and consistency are subjects that belong on a future agenda.
With all daily tasks this simple principal holds and is true, take bite-able bits and chewable chunks and any anything, no matter how difficult can be done. Even the great Bard understood this and was moved once to write “To climb steep hills requires a slow pace at first.”
Yours – ‘on the road’