Risk, Reward and the Big Picture

28 May 2014, 12:00 am Written by  Daryle Lamoureux
Published in Blog
Read 13514 times

"I'd like to do it, but ..." How many times have you found yourself saying this? Whether we are thinking about doing something on our bucket list or we are presented with an opportunity, we've all said, "I'd like to do it, but ..." Just insert our excuse (real or imagined) for why we can't do whatever it is. Whether the opportunity is professional or personal, it doesn't matter. The reaction is usually the same.

It's easy for us to remain in our comfort zones. It is much harder to take a chance and do something new, even if it is something that we've always wanted to do.

When we decide that we want to get out of our comfort zone, we should look at a few factors to determine how to proceed. These factors are risks, rewards and the big picture.

At Zosha Training, many people come to us having made the decision to get out of their comfort zone. Whether this means starting to run, running a new distance or trying to run faster, it is always important to have the risk, rewards and big picture conversation in order to understand what the best approach will be for each person as an individual.

Let's start with the big picture. For some, this may mean starting to run in order to become healthier or to lose weight. For others, this may mean crossing something off their list (for example, to run a 5K, to run a half marathon, to run a marathon in all 50 states, to qualify for the Boston Marathon, etc.). While for others, it may be something completely different.

Within the context of the big picture goals, we then discuss risks and rewards and how they fit in. We will never tell a prospective client what he/she should or shouldn't do (or even agree to work with him/her) without first having an honest conversation about risks, rewards and the big picture.

Why does this matter? It is important that both the coach and the athlete are on the same page when it comes to training, otherwise there is a great likelihood that what follows will not be a positive experience for anyone.

When I was new to running, I met with a prospective coach. I told him my goals for the next 12 months, which included a spring marathon (my first one) and a fall marathon. Without having a full discussion of risks, rewards and the big picture, I was instead discouraged from wanting to run more than one marathon in a year because "it would be too much" and "we only have so many miles in us". After leaving the meeting and thinking about what had happened, I realized that this was not going to be good arrangement for the coach or for me.

From my personal perspective, my big picture is that I am an long distance, endurance runner, and I want to run as many distance events (marathons, ultramarathons and stage races) as I can. I'll never be competing with the elites, and I understand this. I want to run these events for me, to have fun and to enjoy these new experiences in life. Having said this, however, I also do want to improve, to run faster, to run stronger, to run longer.

So what about the risks and rewards? First and foremost, I understand that running is a sport where athletes are very prone to injury. The more we run, the greater the risk that we will experience an injury. Therefore, the risk that I take is that as I run more and more miles, I understand that I am exposing myself to a greater chance of injury.

I could easily back off my mileage and or my training intensity. I could say that I'm only going to run one marathon or ultramarathon a year. This would reduce my risk, but for me, it would also lessen my reward and impact my big picture.

In my first year of running distance events, I ended up running three marathons and two 50K ultramarathons. In the course of training, I did experience injury, but nothing that was significant enough to stop me from achieving my big picture goals.

This is how I will continue to train; however, it will always be in the context of the big picture. For example, this fall I will be running the New York City Marathon. In the context of this framework, my goal is remain healthy so that I can run NYC and have fun. This means that I probably will not run as many marathons and ultras prior to November as I would like to, but that's OK.

What is your big picture of your running? Let us know, and Zosha Training will work with you to achieve your goals on your terms.

Now let's run!

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