Just the other day, a friend posted a comment on his Facebook page about working long hours and questioning whether it was worth it.
He’s no stranger to hard work — nor making sacrifices to obtain goals. A phenomenally talented and fit runner, his post solicited advice and some suggestions, including alternative employment. One unassuming comment triggered a response that provided insight into his secret to being a great runner: “Truth be told … it’s all about consistency, routine and putting in the work. If you do these three things, you will reap the rewards …”
And he’s right.
There’s no shortcuts to reaching goals. To be great on the road, you have to follow a routine, consistently, and put in the work. If your goal is to run fast, your routine must include practicing running fast. If the goal is to run further, you must run longer.
And the secret isn’t as simple as flipping a switch.
Last year, injuries depleted my base and fitness, leaving me with only a few miles on my legs each week. With the New York City Marathon five months away, it left me guessing how to train and run my best when race day arrived.
My initial thoughts left me wanting to jump back into a heavy training load and run my usual 50-plus miles per week. Several earlier attempts at this strategy had yielded a yo-yo effect of higher mileage one week followed by a week.
Perhaps pure stubborness led me to accept a different method: slowly rebuild by running a some every day. Taking a long view helped to establish a routine. It required commitment and the consistency made me a little stronger and better. By the third month, I was running more mileage than ever. And then the fitness came.
This year, I find myself in a similar situation. Since running the half marathon in Fargo, I’ve signed up for my fall marathon, picked a training program and began running consistently. The official kickoff to training is still a few weeks away, but I’m using the time before to establish my routine and base for the hard work to come.
During that span, I’ve begun taking Coby on a few runs, since he’s finally fully grown, and plan a few shorter races for fun.