Training: Go Beyond The Bare Minimum

Doing the mileage is one thing, but adding the little things to your training will help you reach your goals.

In the movie Office Space — one of my all-time favoritesJennifer Aniston’s character, Joanna, is chastised for only wearing the bare minimum amount of flair (fancy pins on her suspenders) at the restaurant where she works. When confronted about her decision to wear only 15 pieces of flair, her manager, Stan, responds, “Now, you know it’s up to you whether or not you want to just do the bare minimum. Or, uh … well, like Brian, for example, has 37 pieces of flair.”

While this scene certainly helped make Office Space a cult classic, the message Stan is comically trying to convey to Joanna applies to many runners who are chasing down big goals and fast times. If this were a conversation between a coach and an athlete, it might look something like this:

Coach: We need to talk about your training.

Athlete: Really? I … I’ve been getting in all my runs and workouts.

Coach: Well, OK. Getting in the mileage is the minimum, OK?

Athlete: OK.

Coach: Now, you know it’s up to you whether or not you want to just do the bare minimum. Or uh … well, like Brian, the Boston Qualifier, for example, he’s doing extra things like core work, strides, stretching, ice baths. And he has a terrific smile.

Athlete: OK. So you … you, uh, want me to do more?

Coach: Look. Everyone’s putting in the mileage and workouts, OK? The ones that take their race times to the next level are the ones putting in the extra work. The little things. Got it?

You: Yeah. OK. So more then, yeah?

Athlete: Look, we want you to achieve your goals, OK? Now if you feel that the bare minimum is enough, then OK. But some people choose to push the limits and really see what they can do with their running and we encourage that, OK? You do want to get the most of your running, don’t you?

You: Yeah. Yeah.

Athlete: OK. Great. Great. That’s all I ask.

You: OK.

If you’re satisfied doing the bare minimum in your training, this article is not for you. However, if you want to take your training to the next level and find that extra five to ten percent to help you reach your ultimate goals, keep reading.

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