As a runner, I have always trained to the specific task. When I am running marathons, I train by running longer distances. When I am running Peachtree, a July 4th race in Atlanta, I train in the heat. If my goal is to lower my 5K time, I run intervals on the track to increase speed. The bottom line is, my training is specific to my goals.
I'm not alone in my philosophies. Elite runners train at altitude to prepare for high attitude races. Most runners do hill workouts to help prepare for rolling courses. So, what is my dilemma, you may ask?
I recently registered for a race called "Dare to Bare 5K." It is run, how shall we say? Well, let's put it this way. I would be very surprised to see any running apparel companies sponsoring this one, but suntan lotion companies may have a vested interest in it, and I may have a mutual interest in loading up on the stuff. I have some sensitive parts I would like not to see burned.
So, I figured, train how you plan to race, right? Well, I tried, and immediately received a stern warning from my neighborhood's homeowner's association. Strange, I thought. They never minded me doing speedwork or long distance. Even my fartlek barely raised an eyebrow. But THIS race specific training, somehow, offended enough people that I had to take my training indoors, to a treadmill.
So I did, and you'll never guess what happened. They revoked my membership at the club whose treadmill I used. They said my exposure was indecent, which was in direct conflict with my assumption that I was getting in pretty good shape. I don't understand. They promote these places as a safe haven to sculpt your body, and then, when you show it off, they get all huffy about it.
While I was doing my wash that evening, I was still so upset about the eviction I had experienced earlier in the day, that I accidentally threw a pair of my running shorts in the wash with the sturdy cottons, and then threw them in the dryer under high heat. Usually, I wash them on a delicate setting, and then hang them up to dry, to save their elasticity. These shorts were ruined. There was no stretch in them at all, and they could no longer give me any support at all. And I thought I could trust all my athletic supporters. Now I had none. First the neighborhood, then my health club, and finally, even my own shorts stopped supporting me.
Then it hit me! Wasn't this the goal of this event specific training from the start? To train with as little support as possible, while still staying within the guidelines of good taste and applicable law? Now, I had my answer.
I quickly pinned the waistband of my shorts together with a couple of safety pins, so I wouldn't be wearing them around my ankles. The parts of my shorts that used to carry me through my long runs where down to about my knees now, and certainly no longer functional for that purpose, but that was exactly what I wanted.
So now, with my newly designed shorts, with everything hanging a little lower than before, I can once again train around the neighborhood without stares of horror coming my way. They have welcomed me back at my health club with open arms. And I am preparing well for my special race too, with a freedom the likes of which I have never known before. And I take special satisfaction in knowing something that nobody else realizes. Under my running shorts, I am actually naked. Don't tell anybody.