One thing that fuels a lot of runners to keep logging their miles is tangible proof that the work you are doing is paying off.
Seeing the mileage totals steadily climb every week/month keeps you going.
A little increase in pace per mile is a nice sign that you’re making progress as well.
When you’re seeing progress just about everywhere you look, you almost can’t wait for your next run.
But what happens when your progress seemingly grinds to a halt?
Progress Isn’t Always Linear
One of the things that we know intuitively, yet forget regularly, is that the path to successfully reaching our goals doesn’t always go up and to the right.
Every runner, I don’t care who you are, is going to go through those periods when it appears that progress is virtually non-existent.
When that happens to you, how do you keep going? How do you prevent yourself from saying the hell with it and just being content with where you are currently?
Look for Other Signs of Progress
Just because you’re not running more miles or faster miles doesn’t mean that you’re not still making progress!
The thing is, if all you’re doing is looking at your Garmin to gauge your progress you’ll never recognize how much you’re improving in other areas of the sport.
And between you and me, improve those other areas often lead to big gains in miles and pace.
What are some other areas of progress are there for us as runners?
Allow me to enlighten you.
Stronger Mental Makeup
You know I have work to do on my mental game. And maybe you do too.
Working on strengthening your mental muscle may not show up on the watch today, but that doesn’t make it less valuable.
Practice using mantras. Renegotiate with yourself to keep moving forward. Don’t “give up” and take an unplanned walk break just because.
Other Health Measures
Are you losing weight? Clothes fitting better? Noticing that some of the aches and pains aren’t as bad as they used to be? Are you HR numbers improving?
Many of us run, at least in part, because of the health benefits.
Are you improving other areas of your health? That is progress, yo!
You may have heard the saying that sometimes the best defense is a good offense.
The same applies to us in terms of progress.
Sometimes the best way to move forward is to avoid regressing.
Treading water may not meet the technical definition of progress, but in the grand scheme of things it can be invaluable.
Sometimes, Progress Just Takes Time
Of course, one other factor that could be raining on your progress parade a bit is patience.
Or, perhaps more accurately, a lack of patience.
There are times when we can see growth and improvement from one week to the next. And sometimes, it almost seems like there are noticeable improvements from one run tot he next one!
More often, however, progress can feel like it’s being made at a glacial pace.
It may be cliche, but slow progress is still progress.
I know it can be a tough pill to swallow when you’re not making progress as quickly as you’d like. But for the love of everything Holy, please don’t discredit the progress you are making just because you’re not making it as quickly as you’d like!
In most cases, if you’re being consistent with your training you are making progress.
Yes, there are exceptions to that rule. But for most of us, it is true.
So the next time you stop seeing progress on your watch, whether for a week or a year, keep working.
The next jump forward may be closer to becoming reality than you think.
How Do You Measure Your Progress as a Runner?
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