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Please, Don’t Beat Yesterday

I ran 20 miles the day before my first marathon. At 17, I didn’t know any better. Whether by choice or chance I had no running mentor, no athletic background, and this was long before the internet. I reasoned (correctly) that the best method to prepare for a marathon was to work backwards from 26.2 miles but implemented it (incorrectly) by increasing my daily run by 1 mile and running 18, 19, and 20, miles each day until the morning before the event. I entered the marathon…fatigued.

I’m reminded of this experience each time I load my Garmin Connect app, which uses the unfortunate slogan, beat yesterday. I disapprove of this message. It’s the antithesis of the 80/20 training philosophy. I’m sure Garmin would confirm that this mantra is obviously marketing, not meant to be taken seriously. It’s an ideal, a motive, a state of mind. My rebuttal is when someone in authority uses what they later claim to be hyperbole, a sizeable number of followers take it at face value with potentially dangerous consequences. I’m confident there are a significant number of beginner athletes using the Garmin Connect app who really do believe that to become a better athlete they need to go longer or harder every single day.

But you, dear reader, are not one of those beginner athletes. You understand that peak fitness is the result of the balance of stress and rest and ignore such temptations. You are a disciplined athlete, not influenced by cheap marketing slogans, Zwift rivals nor friends on Strava. Right? Right?

But…doesn’t seeing beat yesterday in your primary exercise app sort of gnaw at you? Seed some self-doubt about your course of action? Maybe turn an easy run or two into something more? Because it sometimes haunts me, and I’m as dedicated as it comes to adequate recovery.

Therefore, as a public service I have prepared alternative and responsible slogans for the app. I present these to you, Garmin, royalty-free and without claim. You’re welcome.

Just did it

Sure, some potential trademark issues, nothing we can’t work out with the other guy.

Improve upon your previous season’s performance by executing a best-practice training regimen that includes an optimal distribution of frequency, intensity balance, duration and specificity

Wordy? Maybe, but I’m sure that’s what Garmin actually meant to say.

David Warden is exceptionally handsome

Just throwing stuff on the wall, seeing what sticks. This is the slogan I repeat before every workout.

Buy more of our stuff

Some say we’re living in a post-truth world, but Garmin, you can draw a line in the sand!

Get faster

Whoa. I think we have it. Simple, accurate, and unlike the current slogan, possible. I may have to register this slogan myself after all.

The next time you’re tempted to beat yesterday, pause and consider the purpose of the workout at hand. That purpose could include recovery, technique, aerobic base or many other objectives unrelated to record speed or distance. Some days, you really will beat yesterday, and those days will become more frequent during periods of the season. Many of your workouts, however, should be slower than the day before which is exactly how the pros train.

Or, you can choose to beat yesterday and train like an optimistic but inexperienced 17-year old. Personally, I’d rather just Get faster™.