Could Ping Pong Be The Key To Your Next Personal Best?

Foot Locker Champion Drew Griffith shows us how different hobbies could be key to big wins

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High school senior Drew Griffith is coming off one of his biggest career wins, the Foot Locker National Cross Country Championships.

There are a lot of factors at play for Griffith when it comes to winning a national title. Of course, one major factor is his consistent training over a number of years. Additionally, maintaining a healthy diet, strength training, and injury prevention are also key when striving for a big win.

However, for Griffith, there may be one other difference-maker at play here.

Ping pong.

“I was just playing ping pong with the guys a ton yesterday,” Griffith told MileSplit USA. “Honestly, that might be the reason I won. Just tons of ping pong. Hanging out with my friends.”

So, is Griffith on to something with his ping pong hobby? Could it make you a better runner?

Engaging in activities outside of running, whether it’s ping pong or something else, can have a positive impact on your mental well-being, which, in turn, can contribute to becoming a faster and happier runner. 

In this article, we’ll talk about how ping pong, or any other hobby, could be the secret to your next personal best or big win.

Let’s dive into the various benefits of finding your “ping pong” outside of running.

Reduced Burnout

Constantly focusing on a single activity can lead to burnout. Having other hobbies or activities outside of running provides a mental break and prevents monotony, helping you maintain enthusiasm and passion for the sport.

Stress Relief

Different activities can serve as outlets for stress relief. Whether it’s through ping pong, meditation, artistic pursuits, or social interactions, diversifying your interests can help manage stress levels, promoting overall mental health.

Increased Motivation

Pursuing diverse interests can keep you motivated and excited about running and life in general. When you have a variety of activities to look forward to, you’re more likely to approach your running sessions with a renewed sense of energy and enthusiasm.

Enhanced Focus

Engaging in other activities requires different mental skills, such as problem-solving, creativity, or strategic thinking, which can improve your overall cognitive function. This can positively impact your ability to focus during hard training sessions and races.

Improved Mood

Participating in enjoyable and fulfilling activities outside of running contributes to a positive mood and mindset. A healthy mental state can enhance your overall quality of life, which in turn will positively influence your attitude toward running.

Balanced Lifestyle

Striking a balance between running and other activities helps prevent an overly obsessive mindset. It allows you to enjoy a well-rounded lifestyle, which is crucial for mental and emotional health.

Social Connection

Taking up activities related to your other interests provides opportunities for social interaction. Socializing and building connections with others can be fulfilling and contribute to a positive mindset, both in and outside of running.

If there’s one thing we can learn from Griffith, it’s that having a well-rounded set of activities outside of running can contribute to a healthier and more resilient mindset. This balanced mindset can positively influence your running performance by promoting motivation, focus, and overall well-being.

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Jessy has been active her whole life, competing in cross-country, track running, and soccer throughout her undergrad. She pivoted to road cycling after completing her Bachelor of Kinesiology with Nutrition from Acadia University. Jessy is currently a professional road cyclist living and training in Spain.

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