I don’t know if you watch cooking shows on TV occasionally or even obsessively I have to admit I do now and then although I can’t stand Gordon Ramzey….. but I digress…
So the Meez or the mise en place is chef talk for getting organized before you start cooking. It includes all sorts of things: having the recipe handy for easy reference; all the ingredients there and ready to go (ie carrots chopped, meat at room temperature etc…), any necessary pots, pans, utensils, tools to hand, oven preheated and so on. All that’s left to do is to cook. Makes sense and the odds favour a good result.
Now the way I used to cook is way more challenging!! To be fair I usually started with a recipe. High five. After that things got a little more dicey, and not in a good way. When I read “brown the meat” somewhere down the list of steps I often jumped to that immediately. I always thought assembling ingredients first was for whimps….. I liked to do things on the fly! So while the chicken was browning I’d be madly trying to find that lemon that I swore was in the fridge just yesterday…or was it last week. Spices..damm if I didn’t keep getting my thyme and rosemary mixed up. And who the heck forgot to wash the pan I’d be needing?!! The result was an experience that was way more exciting and stressful than it needed to be. And the food…some times ok, others not so good.
What does all this have to do with running you might be asking? Well I find many recreational runners tend to run like I ‘used’ to cook. Everything is done on a wing and a prayer. Effort and willpower are substituted for knowledge and preparation. People show up for a run at the very last minute, do a few token stretches and off they go. Have they thought about what’s going to happen that day? Are they tuned into themselves and what they are about to do or are they still thinking about work? Are they warmed up? Are they moving smoothly? Are they gauging their energy output effectively. How’s their breathing? Are they even noticing any connection between how they are running and how they feel?
Let’s look at one aspect of the running meez in a bit more detail. You read a lot these days in the running press about the importance of ‘good posture.’ “Posture “the latest article on good running form trumpets, is the foundation of good running. It might include a few suggestions like imagining your head getting pulled up with a string or tucking your chin in….well intentioned as these maybe if ‘good posture’ posture isn’t practiced before you run there is very little chance it will happen when the rubber hits the road. You will, in all likelihood be playing catch-up, trying to get your body and mind out of ‘sitting at a desk all day’ mode as the group is heading off to do some bloody hill repeats. Funny how you never seem to get any better at those hill reps!!
Some say you run like you sit….ouch!
The same runner who preps before hand has an entirely different experience. They’ve arrived a bit early and warmed up properly. They’ve spend a little time with an Alexander Technique teacher and have made some nice improvements posturally which they’ve practiced during the day. They’ve worked on their hill running technique with a coach outside of practice and know how to run hills efficiently. They’ve taken some time figuring out what ‘firing the glutes’ feels like so its become part of their running technique. Funny how this kind of preparation will make a hill running session and just about any other kind of workout way less of a slog. Now where’s that darn garlic press….it was just here.
It’s all about the Meez.