Sunday, December 23, 2012

The Tao of Rupp

Recently I've been watching a lot of interviews with Galen Rupp on Flotrack (btw, any idea why this site doesn't work on Firefox?) and I've noticed that he has a peculiar disposition for an elite athlete: he is perfectly mild-mannered.  For someone competing at the highest level, I would expect something a little more fiery.  But whenever he is asked about one training method or another he never takes an extreme position, rather his response is always somewhere in between.

Rupp is in good company because Plato taught the same thing.  It's called the Golden Mean, and it is the idea that every virtue is flanked on either side by two vices.  For example if being greedy is one end of the spectrum and being careless with your money on the other end, then prudence is somewhere in the middle.

I'm sure that Galen Rupp doesn't style himself as any kind of guru (quite the contrary, he is famously private.)  But I can't help but wonder if his overall demeanor is one of the contributing factors to his success.  When any runner has a bad day there is a temptation to fly off the handle and make some wild change to your training.  But running is a sport about temperance, control, and consistency.  So maybe being quietly confident is the key to long-term success.

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