On the treadmill

or: how I learned to stop worrying and love the grind.

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To achieve competence in sport necessitates training. Training involves doing the same thing over and over and over and over again: to build up strength, endurance and capability; to learn about your team-mates in co-operative games; to learn the rules; to perfect your technique.

If you want to run a marathon, you don’t just turn up on the day and do it. You train for it. You go out running. You start small; 5km, then 10, 15, up to half-marathon, work your way up to 20 miles and then you’re probably ready. You go out, 3 to 5 times a week, trudging around the same routes that were stunning and interesting at first but soon lost their charm after the 18th time, or, when the weathers bad and you’re a fair-weather runner, in the gym, pounding away mindlessly on the treadmill, getting the miles into your feet, conditioning your body and your mind ready for the challenge. There will be times when it will hurt, times when you don’t enjoy it and times when it goes badly and all these times will make you question why you’re doing it to yourself. And you won’t have a good answer.
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