Be persistent and consistent
Tolstoy said, ‘The two most powerful warriors are patience and time.’ Regardless of our knowledge of Russian literature, we distance runners understand this better than most. But even we can be lulled into forgetting these words of wisdom when our lives get busy and our goals feel distant or even, perhaps, unattainable.
There is no doubt that year-in and year-out consistency can make all the difference in the world when it comes to getting a big jump in your running performance. ‘Distance running takes patience,’ says Colorado State University cross-country coach Art Siemers. ‘My main focus is finding athletes with the desire, commitment and patience to slowly build an aerobic base, aiming toward a big breakthrough once the body adapts to the stress of higher mileage. This can be a challenge in the age of instant gratification, but those athletes who possess patience and a strong work ethic usually succeed.’
This same type of patience, allied with its trusty comrade in arms – time – can lead to great victories for runners at every level. There will be times when it’s hard to keep putting in the tough miles of training and when it seems like you’ve plateaued. If you’re battling doubts and demotivation, simply remind yourself that staying consistent creates the changes that will lead eventually and inevitably to new levels of performance down the road. In other words, keep the faith.
CHANGE THIS Make running a default part of your life: every day, week, month and year.
WHY Big leaps in your running performance can only be achieved by transforming your body, and those crucial transformations will only occur over time.
THE CHALLENGE It can be hard to measure the progress made in a single day and all too easy to convince yourself that it doesn’t make a difference. It’s also easier to negotiate the time and to find the willpower for a hard, short-term push than to adopt a long-term lifestyle change.
THE RISK A foolish consistency that ignores your body’s signals can cause you to run while injured or get in the way of recovery.