Make every lap the Bell Lap
Today is the beginning of my 59th lap around the sun. In other terms, this is one day after my 58th birthday. Birthdays are interesting times to reflect upon what I have learned and experienced over the years and I am taking a moment this afternoon to share a few thoughts as I finish another lap.
- Every lap is different than the previous one. There are always some similarities to previous laps, but each year has unique characteristics and experiences and many of them are great learning opportunities.
- Some laps are a sprint while others may seem more like coasting. I would not encourage you to sprint every lap, but there are definitely times you should be running hard and others when you need to slow down, even stop, to gain perspective and also to refresh.
- Later laps are typically more about assisting other runners. I often see that as I get older (more experienced) there are more opportunities to aid other runners in the race. Some people see their run as only being an individual effort while many, including me, see this as a team sport, even a relay. There are things I have learned from earlier laps that can be great learning opportunities for other runners when the time comes to share running strategy. Never be afraid to ask another runner about his or her strategy in running the race. Also, be sure to share your experiences with other runners if they ask.
- At some point, every lap should be approached like the Bell Lap. Those who know anything about running know that the Bell Lap is the last one in any race. None of us know when that last lap will occur, so that should encourage us to make sure that each time around the track we need to be sure that what we strive to accomplish, the purpose for our run, is clear in our minds. No runner wants to get to the end of the last lap and realize that he or she had things they meant to accomplish before they finished the race.
A good runner has a strategy for his or her race, and so too should you. As you reflect upon your current lap, know what you seek to accomplish and be sure to focus on these key issues first. Run the good race, fight the good fight, and you too will be happy when you finish the race.