The clothes make the athlete. If only it were so simple…

You’ve done it. You know you have. Justified the purchase of new athletic clothes or gear by telling yourself that you’ll be more consistent with training or be able to finish faster simply because your outfit is awesome or you have the latest workout gadget. But in reality, how much will that purchase actually affect your training or, ultimately, your race?

Once the novelty wears off, is it really going to motivate you to:

  • get up at the crack of dawn for a training run when you still hurt from yesterday’s
  • push past that horrible, sluggish feeling you have during every first mile
  • keep moving despite that nagging pain you have in you hamstring, or foot, or knee…or all three
  • actually be consistent with your training plan the whole time, instead of petering off when your weekday runs become as long as your long runs were in the first few weeks

Are your new shoes or shorts or gadgets going to help you then?

Now, don’t get me wrong; I fall into these same traps. I’m a pro at justifying athletic purchases. Those new shorts will absolutely make me want to run more. But if I’m honest, they don’t make a bit of difference when my hamstring starts nagging me ten minutes into a training session.

My point is that it’s not the clothes that make the athlete. It’s the motor, the machine. IT’S YOUR BODY.

So why haven’t you been investing in it?

You shouldn’t decide that you’re going to do a half-marathon and only add training runs to your schedule. Your body is going to be under a lot more stress than normal. Muscles, ligaments, and tendons are going to be screaming at you wondering what they’ve done to deserve this type of treatment. They say, “weren’t we all happy just chillin’ on the couch?”

If you demand more of your body, you have to invest more in it. But, oh! Invest, what a scary word!

Calm down, it’ll be fine.

I’m not talking about endless treatment sessions where you shell out a mountain of cash. It’s kind of like cleaning your house; if you do a little bit every now and then, you’ll save yourself a headache later. Take care of your body before, or at the first sign of, discomfort, and keep from getting injured later.

My point is this:

Yes, your new running outfit makes you look super legit and intimidating to others. But your body is what’s going to get you across the finish line.

Don’t just train it, MAINTAIN it.

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