Back to Basics Works (Again)

Screen Shot 2015-04-27 at 11.57.15 AMI’m recently (and still, it seems) recovering from a hamstring issue. It’s healing, slowly, but healing nonetheless. Sunday, I decided to test it out with an eight mile, progression run (gets faster each mile). Normally, an eight mile run is not a big deal. Unfortunately, I had not been that far in two months. While all in all, the run went well, there were a few middle miles when it DID NOT seem that way. The next few paragraphs describe the choices I (we) have when things aren’t going as they might.

As with any experience in running or work or life, there are three possible scenarios that exist at that point when one realizes that things aren’t going so well: 1) We can continue going through the motions and simply hang on till the end, 2) we can fold up the tent and call it a day, or 3) we can get out of your comfort zone and try something daring and yet familiar at the same time. I chose number three. The daring part: pick up the pace. The familiar part: go back to basics to do it.

There are three basics at the very core of running: feet on ground (biomechanics), breathing and overall relaxation (physical AND mental). Choosing a nice downhill, I asked myself, “doing okay?” Upon receiving an extremely weak but affirmative answer, I decided to pick it up. The pace increase was noticeable. I lasered my consciousness on running efficiently and relaxed and went into what I call monitor mode: feet landing well and pushing off easily? Check! Hands and face relaxed? Check. Breathing under control? Check! Repeat, repeat, repeat.

Amazingly, although not really, the change was nearly immediate. I knocked off a quicker mile and I felt fantastic! The seventh mile was even faster and considerably under my early pace and despite a decent size hill in mile eight, that one was quick too. Somehow I had turned lemons into lemonade and what could have been a rough finish into a fabulous run. Back to basics, as per usual, had worked.

When faced with a difficult task, rely on what you know. Draw strength from your basics. It’s the ninth inning in the movie For Love of the Game, when Billy Chapel (aka, Kevin Costner) discovers that he has nothing left and his quest for the perfect game may be over. He lets out a deep breath, closes his eyes and says, “Okay, three more. Like I’ve done a million times.”

I rallied on the run. Billy pitched the perfect game.  We all have it in us to reach back and rely on our basics to achieve when troubles arrive. In sales, maybe it’s customer service or product knowledge. Maybe it’s simply relying on knowing that we can finish what we started because we have so many times before. Whatever our basics might be, they are the key to turning it all around. They are the key to high achievement.

Marcus Garvey said “If you have no confidence in self, you are twice defeated in the race of life.”

What are your basics? Run on.