If you have ever participated in the homebrewing or winemaking process you will appreciate this analogy. Assuming the right ingredients are mixed in the right proportions and the “recipe” is followed correctly there is little that separates marathon training from winemaking and homebrewing when you reflect on these three essential components:
- Experience – The best brewer or winemaker is nearly always the one with the most years of experience. Sure it takes a lot of luck, but when you are in the realm of art + science, luck is directly proportional to years of experience. The “art” is enhanced by all the mistakes made along the way. Training for a marathon is quite similar. You can have a stroke of beginner’s luck, but you are more likely to improve through years of experience and, unfortunately, a few mistakes and training errors.
- Being Confident and Trusting the Process – Experimentation is always tempting when you are trying to make a batch of beer or a most exquisite wine, but you cannot change the essential process. There are inviolable steps in making beer or wine. You may have the most creative idea in the world for the next best brew, but if you change the order of the essential steps the results will stink – literally. Your grand experiment will be entirely undrinkable and you will have wasted a lot of time. Trust your training plan. The workouts follow a specific order and plan. The plan is your key to success. Experiment “slightly” and “carefully” but don’t abandon the essential steps to success.
- Patience – Wooo boy. This is the toughest part of marathon training as well as brewing and winemaking. Once the beer is in the carboy or the wine is in the oak barrel or stainless steel fermenter, not much can be done to change the final product. Playing too much with the ingredients in the late stages of the fermentation process will more than likely ruin the final outcome rather than enhance it. The same is true in the later stages of marathon training. You cannot “cram” like you did for your college finals. Either the work is in or it’s not. When your marathon training reaches the final three weeks, you can only screw up the final result with final “tweaking.” It’s patience in those final, sometimes agonizing weeks, when the aging process/training effect yields the best product.
Feel free to make comments on this topic! Let’s have some fun with it.