Routine. It's the sequence of things we do every day – before every run, after every race and during every training session – that make us feel prepared and comfortable. We've spent hours formulating a way of life, those habits, that work and they'll very rarely change.
But what works for one person, won't necessarily work for another. We are individuals and we work in different ways. That’s what makes each of us interesting – variety is the spice of life and all that. I, for example, like to calm pre-race nerves by chatting to friends, whilst I’m sure others will banish chatter in favour of zone-finding silence. So who are we to judge if someone has been preparing for a big challenge in the right or wrong way?
There are, of course, failsafe ways to ensure success. Practice, rest and fuel. How each of these is done, though, is completely up to the individual. There is no definitive training bible that everyone should follow. Even the available training guides are just that – guides not rule books.
I like to take a relaxed view to training. Running is my hobby, so every time I go out, it should be fun. Otherwise what’s the point?! I don’t chase numbers on the clock but am ecstatic to see new faster times when they happen. Most of my runs are social and they’ll be as muddy as possible. This is what works for me for now, so why change it?
As some people prepare for the biggest race of their lives, let's remember to be kind to them. There's no need to question the number of miles they've reached or the speed at which they were done. It's not necessary to ask how often they've blasted round a track or summited hills. Only they know if they're ready.
So let's be supportive. Accept other people's habits and wish them the best of luck (and save them a post-marathon beer to celebrate their amazing achievement).