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June 3, 2017

The Ten Commandments of Summer Cross Country Training

On the first day, of the first week after I graduated from high school, I was putzing around in a vast, empty shopping mall. My legs grew weary from trying to locate the Auntie Anne’s pretzel stand. I sat on a bench near an anthropomorphic track suit and the track suit spoke to me.

It called out: “This is what you must tell to the other members of the high school graduating class of 2009, who are embarking on their first summer of collegiate cross country training: you will soon see what I do to those whose hubris leads them to overtrain, or whose gluttony leads them to undertrain; and you will soon see that I will carry on the wings of eagles those who train smart, not hard during these hot summer months. These are the words you are to speak to your peers.”

“Okay,” I said. “So like, do you want me to make a Facebook group?”

“Yeah, I guess,” bellowed the track suit. And I made a Facebook group, and went home and posted on it what the track suit had ordained. Then the 18-year-olds of the Facebook group all “Liked” the status, and I went back to the mall and said to the track suit: “They will do everything you have said.”

“Neat,” called out the track suit. “I am going to come to you in a dense cloud, and we can take a selfie to post on the Facebook group, so that all its members will forever trust you as a smart boy about training.”

The track suit then instructed me to post on the group, informing its members to take frequent showers and drink plenty of water.

“And another thing,” it called out, “prepare yourself for the next day; abstain from sexual relations.”

“No problem,” I, a huge virgin, said.

I went home, jogged a 30-minute double, and went to sleep. Then the next day, when I returned to the mall to exchange some pants for a slightly smaller size, I found the mall ablaze, plumes of noxious black smoke radiating from it, then I heard the voice of the track suit, coming at once from nowhere and everywhere.

And it spoke these words:

“I am the anthropomorphic track suit you met at the mall. Your college coach knows a shit ton about training, so you should listen to them, but also listen to me, because you and your teenage dirtbag cronies could use a head check.”

And I carved it into stone.

  1. 1.Thou shalt drink plenty of water. For it is summer, and summer is hot. And water is good.
  2. Thou shalt respect the double. There shall come a time when one run is not enough. Then thou shalt do two runs. Just not too soon.
  3. Thou shalt not half step.
  4. Thou shalt not overdo it. Fall is for racing. Summer is for training.
  5. Thou shalt not underdo it. Eat the flesh of chicken nuggets and imbibe the nectars of Keystone, but in moderation. Thou must still run.
  6. Thou shalt run hills, and run hills often.
  7. Thou shalt run strides, at a slightly lesser frequency than thou runneth hills.
  8. Thou shalt abide by thy coach. If thy coach decrees a week of 80 miles, thou shalt runneth 80 miles, not 60, not 100.
  9. Thou shalt not PR in a race distance the first workout back on campus. Nobody cares for workout heroes. Least of all me, the anthropomorphic track suit.
  10. Thou shalt get the dumbassery out of thy system. Procure thy stupid hair cuts, ironic tattoos, and body piercings before the season begineth, for the season is no time for a staph infection or rat tail.



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