Don’t take shortcuts, they take too long. ~Sonia Simone
Words to live by, to be true.
In the past few days, I’ve come across several conversations related to patience and delayed gratification.
And as runners, we tend to suck in this area.
Keeping the Long View in Mind
First things first, when I mention the long view what am I getting at exactly?
The next year? The next decade?
When I’m talking about the long view, I’m referring to the rest of your running life.
20, 30, 40+ years.
That’s the long view. And that is why having patience concerning your progress in our sport is a virtue.
If you want to be healthy and able to run for years and years, you have no choice but to keep the long view in mind when it comes to how your train and how you take care of your body.
And if you don’t?
You won’t have to worry about running for years and years…
Areas in Your Running Where the Long View Matters
We live in an instant gratification world.
I get it.
Lord knows if it takes a website more than a few minutes to load around here, I pretty much go all Office Space on my computer.
At times I struggle with having enough patience as much as you do.
That said, as runners, we need to resist the desire for instant progress/gratification and keep the long view in mind as much as possible.
Where to start? Here are three suggestions.
One of the most common reasons that people begin working with me as a coach is that they want to get faster.
We’ve talked about why you probably don’t need to focus on getting faster to reach your goals in the past, but I know what they mean.
They want to finish their races faster. They want to PR. They want to BQ.
And I want all of those things as well.
Where we get ourselves in trouble is to think that we are going to always improve in huge chunks.
Progress in running takes time, and once you get to a certain point as a runner you’re better off measuring success in seconds than you are in minutes or hours.
The difference between a 5-hour marathon and a 4-hour marathon is 60 minutes.
That is the same difference between a 4-hour marathon and a 3-hour marathon.
When you’re new to the sport, you may be able to knock off some serious chunks of time from one race to the next.
You could realistically knock off 60+ minutes in the marathon from one race to the next. I know this because I have a 65-minute marathon PR under my belt.
But that doesn’t happen after you’ve been running for awhile. You don’t just go from a 4-hour marathoner to a 3-hour marathoner in one training cycle.
Point blank, I “argue” more with my clients after their races than I do at any other point during the training cycle.
That’s because most of them seem to want to get right back to running as soon as they can after their race is finished.
Seriously, relax for a minute!
After a full training cycle and racing hard, you need to give your body a chance to recover and heal.
If you’re serious about running for many years, you need to come to terms with just how important adequate recovery time is to avoiding injury and burnout as a runner.
It really is important!
Many runners can accept a rest day each week, but they still struggle with taking 1-2 weeks off after a race.
I’m not saying that you must take 1-2 weeks off, but I would encourage you to embrace my “pain-free + 3” philosophy.
Quite simply, as long as you’re feeling some pain/discomfort after your race, don’t run. Once you get to where you’re 100% pain-free going up and down stairs, getting up from a chair, etc., wait three more days to run again.
If you’re serious about keeping the long view of your running in mind, these extra days of rest won’t make any difference in your overall fitness and the pursuit of your big goals.
But by not taking them, you’re increasing your chance of injury which can definitely derail your long term running goals.
Do the “Little Things”
You’re a runner, so you like to run.
Makes perfect sense to me!
Being a well-rounded and healthy person is good for you in general and your running for years to come.
So stop neglecting the little things!
- Make sure you’re regularly foam rolling and stretching.
- Do some strength training.
- Get on the mat for some yoga and pilates.
- Eat well and get plenty of sleep at night.
None of these things in isolation is a make or break component of your ultimate success as a runner.
But by consistently tending to the little things for weeks and months and years, you are setting yourself up for being able to consistently run for years.
And that is the definition of keeping the long view in mind, eh?
Choose the Long View
If you are serious about running for the next few decades, then you really only have one choice: always keep the long view in mind.
By cutting corners and looking for shortcuts in your training, you are putting your future as a runner at risk.
And if you ask me, that’s just not worth it!
Training with the long view in mind isn’t sexy and it may not look good on social media, but it’s effective.
Stay patient, do the work, and you’ll reap the benefits for years to come!
Do You Struggle to Keep the Long View in Mind When It Comes to Your Running?
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