We all do it. We yearn for progress and often lack patience when it comes to our running ability. In fact, lack of patience is common among runners. I see it all the time and I am guilty of it myself.
But in trying to find shortcuts to success, we start making mistakes that frequently lead to disappointment and, sometimes, failure. Whether shortcuts result in injuries, plateaus, or other setbacks, they make us begin to doubt our training and the approach we’re taking towards running. Worst case scenario: we quit running for good.
It’s a much different world today than it was in the past – we live in a society where we expect things to be immediate. We have instant access to what we want through the internet and smart phones. Even our patience when it comes to reading online articles has dwindled to mere headline skimming and occasional reading of first pages.
Frustratingly enough, running isn’t a “just the headlines” kind of sport. Success in running is not immediate and our impatient selves often become frustrated and upset.
Each day we run, it’s like putting a penny in a jar.
A penny is pretty much worthless, and on its own, you can’t do much with it. But over several days, weeks, and months, your pennies (training runs) start adding up, and eventually you can build wealth (your success).
Nothing comes fast with running. Every now and then, we learn a new technique that temporarily turns the penny into a nickle. This is great, but then your body adapts and adjusts to the new training. Then, what was once a nickle is a penny again.
Ideally, we want to look for nickles and be happy with pennies. But if you’re looking for gold coins, it isn’t going to happen. You’re wasting your time.
You only get better by taking small, consistent steps over time – you get better by doing.
Instead of skipping workouts when they’re scheduled, you have the discipline to go for a run. On off days, you have the discipline to rest (rest days are pennies too). Finally, as you approach race day, you don’t have to be anxious or nervous. You can look back at your training and realize that you’ve been making small, consistent steps and can enjoy the confidence that your training has provided.
Trust in your training. You are ready. You have built success into your running and you have earned it.