Training Tip: You don't have to hit a home run every time

My family are big SF Giants fans - I grew up listening to KNBR radio, enthralled by the tales of my childhood sports heroes: Matt Williams, JT Snow, and my favorite, Will Clark. I had a life-sized cutout of Will Clark in my bedroom, and when the Giants traded him to the Texas Rangers, I was inconsolable :-( I have fond memories of meeting my uncles for parking lot tailgates and then freezing our butts off in chilly, windy Candlestick Park. 
At AT&T Park, when the Giants won the NL West last year
Today, the Greggs remain avid Giants fans -- we named our cat Posey after the oh-so-handsome Rookie of the Year, Buster -- and aside from running, Giants baseball might be the most popular dinner conversation. So it's no surprise that when we talk training, my dad often uses baseball metaphors. 

Posey the Cat
Earlier we were discussing today's workout -- a fartlek run touching on 10k and 5k pace -- and I expressed that I was feeling a little tired going into the hard effort. I've strung together some solid weeks of training and am feeling super fit right now... but with lots of mileage and hard workouts comes a wee bit of exhaustion, both mental and physical. Hearing this, Coach Dad counseled me on today's workout:
"Today, you just need to get some work in. You don't have to hit a home run, you just need to hit a single and get on base." He reminded me that in Tuesday's workout, I'd hit a grand slam: 6 x mile with 2 minutes rest -- all run faster than I'd ever run mile repeats before. And my previous 3 weeks of workouts had also been spot-on. I've been on a hot streak, hitting home run after home run. Training has been going great, but today, Dad's wise words echoed: "You don't need to do anything special - just get on base."

So here's my training tip: You don't have to hit a home run every time. In fact, you can't - it's impossible. You might be able to have a couple amazing workouts back-to-back, but in the long run, it's not sustainable - chronic fatigue, burnout, or injury will catch up with you. If you approach every workout swinging for the fences, you'll inevitably strike out.

When training for racing success, your goal should be consistency. Home runs are great, but it's what interspersed with the monster efforts -- the singles that boost your on-base percentage -- that make you a dangerous athlete. My 10-year-old brother was recently singing the praises of newly acquired Giant Jeff Keppinger. The reason Keppinger is so valuable, Bryce told me, is his consistency - he may not be a slugger, but he rarely strikes out and he consistently gets on base. In the same way that hitting singles makes you a good ball player, running strength is the accumulation of weeks (and years!) of training, mile upon mile, each workout building on the previous one. Bryce has figured out this training tip at any early age!

So in today's workout, I'm just hoping to get on base... Now it's fartlek time!
Until next time, happy running and Go Giants!