The other 23 hours

by coach John Schrup

There is a quote I think about often, in regards to training.  I don’t remember it verbatim, or even who said it.  It sounds like a John Wooden quote.  It goes something like:  “The hour a day you spend at practice is less important than the other 23 hours.”  Of course, I’ve likely got this completely wrong, and it might not even be Wooden.  I don’t think it is Mother Theresa, because it doesn’t sound like something she might have said, and her teams were really not very good.

If it was Wooden’s quote (somebody help me out here!) I’d have to think he was talking about how the other 23 hours are more important to developing an individual’s character, or in the grand scheme of things, than the one hour a day you try to throw a round ball through a hoop.

Well, whoever said it was right on.  It really can’t be argued in opposition.  For one, whatever it is you are practicing—basketball, running, mah jongg—isn’t going to even show up on the radar when all is said and done.   For us, for runners, what we’re doing is really just adult play, isn’t it?  We aren’t serving others, we aren’t feeding others, we’re really just running.  I mean, there are really only a few of us who get paid to do it, and most of us are paying to do it.

It might also be said that those 23 hours are of greater importance to your one hour of practice than the one hour of practice.  That one practice hour is more specific to whatever it is you are preparing for, absolutely.  But those other 23 are going to be the buttress for that one little hour, the support, the backup.  Schrup!, you’re saying.  Hold on!  What the %@#$ are you talking about?

Dig:  We live pretty stressful lives, I think we can all agree.  We have jobs, families; we’re moving forty million hundred thousand miles an hour for 26 hours every day.  We talk about simplifying our lives, and we even make some effort here and there to do so, but what we’re really doing is trying to make things more convenient so that we can wedge more pieces into our already jam packed pie.  We Americans have about the highest hypertension levels on the planet, because we are so stressed.  One of the ways we relieve this stress is with exercise.  Running.  Cycling.  Crossfit.  Whatever.  And because we don’t just want to exercise for our health’s sake, we have to make our exercise rigorous, goal-oriented training. Would you continue to run if there were no races?  We sign up for these races and events and then get our friends to do it and all of a sudden you’re running down the street in Chicago with 40,000 of your closest friends and you paid shit tons of dollars just to enter the thing and that doesn’t even count the jack you dropped on hotel and airfare!

So if we are going to train really, really hard, make these huge efforts, invest these crazy dollars, take all this time to prepare for these monster events, why wouldn’t we also see to it that we are not letting all that go to waste by messing things up in the other 23 hours of the day?  I know of far too many people who come to groups and expect to spend a few short months getting ready, doing some intense work, sacrificing time and effort for a big goal, and really what they’re looking for is a magic bullet.  But the way they treat their bodies the other 23 hours of the day, they’re not even looking for a magic bullet, they’re looking for magic!

Training properly for anything is difficult.  There is no easy way to do it.  It is a huge stress on the body.  Another stress on the body.  At some point, something’s gotta give, and if it ain’t your performance at work, or in races, it’ll be in your health.  Something’s gonna go.  All the bulletproofness you have now will eventually go away.  Chronology is a bitch like that.  So why not change your mind, make real changes to yourself so that you can run faster, play more, be better in everything you do?  Do it.  Change your mind.


One thought on “The other 23 hours

  1. Pingback: What’s in Your Quiver? | The Rundown

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