TRAIN LIKE A STUDENT Kristen Ponichtera’s article title “The Surprising Similarities Between Studying and Running” for CompetitorRunning.com grabbed my attention; what she wrote on the topic had me nodding my head in agreement. This piece is short enough to breeze through for students already busy with coursework. It may help those who hope to train for an important race, as well as runners who will need to prepare for a future school exam!
To eventually become a physician and then a board-certified pediatric pathologist, performing well on high stakes exams was a requirement for continued success in my early career. At first my test prep method was disorganized and could not reliably deliver the best possible results. I squeaked into medical school but soon realized that every month or so there would be a make-or-break test that, if passed, would allow progression to the next steps. Conversely, just one or two failing grades would jeopardize my future.
Fortunately, a medical school class is one of the best places in the world to find great test takers. The student in our class who seemed to be top scorer on most of exams happened to be a member of my small study group. Before long we became friends, and I learned his strategy and tactics. We married 5 years later! Ultimately with his ‘system’, I passed all but one test in 4 years of medical school, two general medical board certification exams, and then three pathology specialty-board certification exams.
I become anxious just thinking back on those days!
Ponichtera’s piece outlines the foundations of a training/studying strategy: register, get gear, schedule sessions, endure the tough times, taper, and then race. She makes a great comparison!
Earned Runs expands and extends her list with a STARTER CHECKLIST (see webpage):
1, 2 & 3. Request bibs, commit to race, then find one and register
4. Get medical clearance as needed
5. Settle on a training plan
6. Identify a way to record progress
7 & 8. Secure gear and a way to measure distances
9. Locate training sites and courses
10. Find and incorporate training routines to avoid injury, stay safe, and maintain nutrition
At first glance the Earned Runs STARTER CHECKLIST doesn’t seem to closely parallel studying for a big exam. However, from my experience with both exam-preparation and race-training it shows how breaking down a huge daunting task into smaller manageable chores is A SMART STRATEGY. Specific tactics involve identifying and addressing each individual training or studying component, and at the same time tracking progress where possible.
The best exam-taker in my medical school class, my future husband, taught me to adopt a very detailed approach to studying, practicing, then sitting for the test. Success in running and studying requires similar advance work. Once the schedule is set and preparations are made, all that’s required is putting body, mind, and soul to the task!
BRIDGE TO PHYSICAL SELF
Running, walking, and fitness activities enable us to experience our physical selves in a world mostly accessed through use of fingers on a mobile device.
EARNED RUNS is edited and authored by me, runner and founder. I began participating in road races before 5Ks were common. I've been a dietitian, practiced and taught clinical pathology, and been involved with research that utilized pathology. I am fascinated with understanding the origins of disease as well as health.
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