The First Mile

As the sun rises, you check off your first two items in preparation for your big race: 1. Appropriate gear: running shoes and a light-weight tank top and short shorts 2. Stretches. Then, you start to mentally prepare for the race ahead. In the 5K race (3.1 miles) which is a typical cross-country course, you begin to think about your tactics for competing in the race. With your art job or assignment you begin to think about the stages it will take to complete your project. What are the tactics of runners that will help you win/finish your art project successfully?

Frame Of Mind.
There are always good ways to run your race and bad ways to run it. You want to consider your options before you put your foot on the start line. I was always a slow runner. I am naturally contemplative. I like to think a lot. I was never the fast one, but I always finished the race running. I won a couple of ribbons in competitions, but mostly I just ran. That was because I could focus on the finish line.

Run In Stretches.
What I recommend is what I learned from those cross country days--consider the race as a whole. You need to keep your legs moving and your mind on the race. You need to consider each mile completed as a separate achievement. Gradually increase your speed as you go. Do not become stagnant in your competition. Eventually push yourself to your top speed at the end.

The Long-Distance Commitment.
What I do not recommend is darting off the start line at 100 yard dash speed. I know runners from my cross country years in high school who completely missed the point of running a race. They completely overlooked the fact that foot races are a long-distance commitment. When the gun goes off they would sprint off the line for the first mile. Often these guys were more fit than me. They were often taller and thinner. In my opinion, better equipped than myself to run these long distances. These "jack rabbits" as we called them may have put a good scare on the competition, initially, but then they burned out quick. What good is that in a long distance race?

Consider your art project as a long-distance race. Some may in fact be very short term in the scope of your life, but art is a discipline like any other sport. I am recommending that you look at your project in stages or in stretches. Think through and prioritize your process in a plan (a later post). You want to keep your project moving. Consider the pace that you need to keep to be strong in every stretch of the race. There will be times that you can relax your pace, but there will also be times to surge ahead. The best tact that I have learned is to pick short goals and to seek to surpass them quickly. You are in a race, so you can't slow down. Keep this in mind as you figure out how to win your prize for finishing your art project.

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