The path to your goals requires massive execution and focus on a daily basis but most of all requires massive PATIENCE. Running and training for a marathon is pretty exciting stuff. Especially if you are new to running and perhaps have found out how great it can be to accomplish a 2 mile run or even a first time 5 mile run. But sometimes we tend to let the excitement and enthusiasm take over the ego and a lot of runners will tend to overtrain believing the more they do the better they will be. The hardest part I see is runners having the hardest time taking recovery days as they feel they are missing something and maybe “falling off” their training when in reality recovery days are so key to your training and at times can be more important than running days as your body has to rest to get strong and adapt to the running and training you are putting your body through. Think about weight lifters in the gym, if they are working out their biceps on a particular day, they will never workout their biceps the next day as they know they must give the bicep a break so the muscle fibers they tore in their biceps can heal and rejuvenate. The same kind of idea applys to running. While we can run back to back days, the effort has to change from day to day so you can allow the body to make the adaptations. When you can learn to execute patience in your training you will see big gains.
If you ever have the opportunity I highly suggest you get out to Mammoth Lakes, Ca or to Boulder, Co. The training is spectacular in both of these places and just one week there running twice a day will have huge impacts on your training as the high altitude training will help your body generate and increase your red cell count which helps carry more oxygen to your body when you return back home, thus improving your running in big gains. This is why all elite athletes train in these areas on a yearly basis. In Mammoth Lakes it is amazing to see the best of the world training here. I have trained here numerous years and it is still incredible to go to the local park in Mammoth called Shady Rest Park and just sit there and watch Ryan Hall, Meb, Josh Cox, Dan Browne, and Deena Kastor do mile repeats on the grounds. They are all extremely approachable after their workouts and they talk to you about your training and theirs. It is inspirational. In Boulder the atmosphere is pretty much the same. You can sit there and watch the best athletes in the world train as they get ready for the major marathons or the Olympics. The picture above is Boulder and I wanted to share a story with you about patience. I had a conversation with the Japanese marathon coach who trains the Japanese athletes for the Olympics and it was amazing to me as they bring the athletes to Boulder to begin their training almost 4 years out from the Olympic games in which the first year of training there is no running involved. The first year out there is only dedicated to hiking up the trails and high peaks in Boulder. The idea is to build the mucles in their legs and to recruit new muscle fibers so when they begin running in their second year of training they feel they are at an advantage in creating a strong base and begin their ascent to peaking. Now that is patience and while most of us wont take a year to hike to prepare for a race I think we can take away from that story how important patience is to execute in your training.
PATIENCE IS NOT THE ABILITY TO WAIT BUT THE ABILITY TO KEEP A GOOD ATTITUDE WHILE WAITING
Focus and execution of your plan is the most imporatant element of your training and running but it also requires massive amounts of patience to allow your body and mind to adapt to the training and improve. Most elite athletes require a coach because they tend to overtrain if they dont have one. They become so overly ambitious that they feel they need more and more and more. And while most of us are not elite athletes it seems the attitude from elite athletes to middle of the pack runners is no different. You have to put your trust in your training and trust it will all come together and not allow the ambition and ego to take over which can have you do more and put yoruself in the postion to overtrain and decrease your chances of attaining your goals. I see a lot of runners bothered by the idea of taking a recovery day and feeling like it is the end of the world. I understand and have been there myself but when you see how important it is in a 5 month program or longer you will understand how it is so necessary. I read somewhere if you took a whole week off from running you actually will only lose point one percent of your athletic ability. If you think about that, it isnt much. While I am not telling you to take a week off I just want to show how one day will not kill you or your athletic ability. So if you are training for a race, coming back from an injury or getting back into training from a recent race, show some patience and treat your body right. A little patience goes a long way and will help you achieve anything you set your mind to, such is life.
Have a great day,
Your friend, Ryan.