Last Updated on October 3, 2013 by Jimson Lee
From Ato Bolden’s Twitter account, he tweeted 10 things retired track athletes know that active athletes might not. This isn’t meant to be a Brian Tracy checklist (here’s another), but it’s a good read, and I have to admit, I agree with everything said here.
Back in May 2008, I remember Gary Reed and Ian Gillespie were guest speakers at our function and the topic of life (or, more specifically, WORK after Track) was clearly in the air. You can tell that Gary did the smart thing back then by planning a job or career after his 800 meters days were over. Gary Reed retired from Track 3 years later at the end of the 2010 season.
But the most important point is #1. Save enough for a rainy day, because those days will come faster than you think. If you get a nice shoe contract, for goodness sake, put most of it in the bank or buy some property to live in. Even Roger Federer’s main residence is a flat (apartment/condo) and not a 12 bedroom 13 bathroom gated villa in Los Altos Hills.
Here are the 10 points, copied and pasted from Twitter:
#10: Save some of all that free gear you constantly give away. It’ll end.
#9: No-one ever remembers the pain, but medals are forever. PUSH. No pro track athlete ever died from a workout. POST CAREER regret sucks
#8: No 1 from that shoe company you love so much loves you. Romance with no finance is a nuisance. The more in love you are the less u make.
#7: The competitors you think you hate so much now will be your friends when you are retired. Don’t take it THAT seriously. Compete without hate.
#6: Figure out what job you will do next, in early or mid-career, not post career. FEW get to decide when they retire, most get forced out.
#5: One day you’ll awake and won’t be fast anymore. Does your career define your whole life/existence? IT SHOULDN’T. Have a life so you don’t have to go get one after.
#4: Make use of the best thing about being a track athlete – the travel. YEARS in exotic locales, but all you know is hotels and McDonald’s is pointless. Get outside, take pictures, learn something. Experience other lands.
#3: Your career is infinitely more fun with a good training group. CHOOSE YOUR training group wisely. Chances are if you hate your career after, it’s because you hated your training partners, bounced around to several, or had none.
#2: Europe can be wild and crazy and fun…and it can also shorten your career drastically if you are incapable of not acting a damn fool there. EURO "Wine and men/women" have prematurely ended many a promising career.
#1: Save your money like your life depends on it (it does) and make it earn more while you are earning a lot of it. And yes, get a pro to do this. "Your cousin who’s good with money" doesn’t count.
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Markham Lee says
Thanks for posting this, I’m cutting and pasting it to send to my old high school coach to share with the athletes he still coaches.
#3 really struck a chord with me. When I was a Freshman I was, well, awful but I had so much fun with my teammates I didn’t care. My Sophmore year was a great season for me, but it wasn’t so much about the winning it was the day to day competition and fun in practice.
My Jr. year my family moved all the way across the country to a school where Track wasn’t the most popular sport, we had poor coaching and few of my teammates shared my passion for the sport (e.g. 90% of my former teammates from my first HS still run or compete in some way, Triathlons, Masters Track, road races, Marathons, etc, it’s like 5% at the 2nd school)….
I was always expected to win, I was the #1 guy, should’ve been fun, right? Nope, I was miserable.
I almost didn’t come out for track my Sr. year and debated not going out in college, but 2 days into my college career I made new friends and rediscovered my love for the sport.
I shudder to think how things would’ve turned out if I started at the 2nd school…
#9 – sounds like something my old coach would say: “We’re going to win because we’re going to work harder and smarter than everyone else/intervals won’t kill you”
Although some days, I did wonder if Intervals should come with a Surgeon General’s warning…