The Big Burn

“Success is the sum of small efforts, repeated day in and day out.” – Robert Collier, author

Meetings, deadlines and duties filled the week to make the looming task come with plenty of anxiety.

Interruptions to normal sleep and eating routines present challenges to successful training. But this summer, these interruptions have become opportunities for adaptation. No two weeks have been the same with changes to distance and types of workouts. Some weeks include two-a-day workouts, usually on Wednesdays, but the pattern has changed.

During this training cycle, even the timing of workouts has changed.

For years, early morning runs were a staple — leaving me energized for the day and unaffected by the day’s events. Somewhere along the way this June, July and August, running has become an evening activity.

And that means running plenty of miles in the heat.

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This past weekend, I headed south to meet a friend for our long run on the gravel roads near Rollag, Minn.

Twenty miles of rolling hills provided a daunting challenge after a grueling week, lack of sleep and less-than-ideal meal planning. The marathon, though, won’t wait for perfect conditions.

An early morning departure allowed us to beat the day’s high temperatures. Cloudy skies also offered some relief. Good conversation helped the time go by quick, even though the terrain provided constant inclines and descents.

IMG_2838 IMG_2840Runs like the one this past Sunday are confidence boosters.

Marathon training isn’t supposed to be easy. It takes work — a lot of hard work — if you want race day to go well. And there are no guarantees that race day will go well.

But I’ve never been one that wanted to show up at the starting line and question whether I could have done more to prepare. There are uncontrollable factors — like the weather — and there are many more that will be determined by preparation, attitude and training.

And that’s one big reason why running well requires consistency. Runners who devote themselves to consistently training reap the greatest rewards in whatever improvements they’re seeking.

This week, the big burn — temperatures soaring into the 90s — provide another physical challenge. It won’t be easy, but the miles come easier after a summer full of consistent training.

Embracing the heat and hills are part of the ingredients for race day preparation for the St. George Marathon, now less than 8 weeks away.