Drafting – Running Life Lesson #14
As I matured as a runner and competitor, I became smarter and efficient in my racing tactics. As a young man, early in my career, I was not afraid to push the pace. I was like a young colt running free in the wild. I would waste valuable energy leading packs of runners through the early stages of a competition.
I hated to get outkicked after leading almost an entire race. I would feel the runners behind me and helplessly watch them pass me by with little or nothing I could do to prevent it. I would push the pace partly because I was not confident in my abilities to outkick my competitors and partly because I just didn’t know any better.
As a savvy veteran, I began to let other runners take out the pace. I was content to “tuck” in behind a runner and ride on his shoulder for part of the race, and then when I felt it was appropriate I would surge around him and lock in the next available competitor and start the process all over again until it was time to sprint towards the finish line. I would do this almost the entire race and found that my times began to drop and I was running so much faster than before, because I learned the value of drafting.
I discovered that when I drafted behind other runners, their energy and momentum would pull me through a race. If there was a wind, the runner would block it out and it would have much less of an impact on me and on my pace. I could feed off my competitor’s energy and it would make it much easier for me to traverse the course with a lot less effort.
We are not meant to lead our lives solo, in life. Yes, you may find some level of success on your own, but it cannot be sustained. If you plan to enjoy long term success, then eventually, I suggest you find someone in your field to “run” with on your journey. Draft off them, learn from them, and tap into their network. Once you begin to achieve success, pass on your wisdom, experience, and network onto someone else and let them draft off you.
I achieved some fast times and won several races in my running career, once I learned the value of drafting. Now I am applying that exact same principle in my life. I’m drafting with some pretty amazing people and I am excited with what life has in store for me as a result. Who can you draft with to help you through the next year and help you get to the next level of your career and life?