Consistency

MEB!!!  What an amazing race it was yesterday!  In case you didn’t know, yesterday was the first time in over 30 years that an American won the Boston marathon!  And Meb has been one of my favorites for years.  He just comes across as such good guy.  A humble, spiritual, family man.  I was so happy to see him win.  You know what else makes me happy?  He’s nearly 39 years old!  I’ve said more than once over the last year that I’m not getting any younger and I’ve been afraid that this injury has robbed me of my best running years.  But the reality is that I really haven’t been training for very long.  In fact, I’ve never run with any consistency.  Injury or life has always intervened and pushed running to the back seat.  I’ve never run for 12 months straight.  My coach sent me this article this morning.

“You don’t have to run more miles and you don’t have to run harder to PR.  Now, don’t get me wrong – if you do one or both of those things and – and this is a big and – you stay healthy, then there is a good chance that you will run a PR.  But consistency almost always leads to PRs and if you’re someone who has struggled with injury, i.e. you’ve struggled to train with consistency, then you should look at your last few months of training and say “If I can just get in the mileage and the workouts that I did in the previous training period – but stay healthy – I will probably run a PR.” All runners have interruptions in their training – they get sick, they have to travel, etc. – but these interruptions are not what I’m talking about.  I’m talking about finding a manageable volume of running, then adding in a workout or two per week, plus a long run that you can handle for eight, twelve or ideally sixteen weeks.  If consistency defines a 16 week period of training then you can likely PR.”

And I then I read this article about a master’s runner, a mother, and a doctor.  She wasn’t an elite runner.  Just someone who found running later in life and realized that she had a talent for it.

“Turning 40 in January 2010 started her looking for new inspiration, and when she ran the New York City Marathon that November, it marked the beginning of a love affair with the 26.2-mile event. She started corresponding with other marathoners online, enjoying the support and advice of new friends in the U.S. and elsewhere. Her marathon times have crept inexorably down-ward as she’s nudged her workload higher. In 2011 she ran 3:12:27 and 3:05:13; in 2012 she made a big jump with a 2:58:14 at Boston, good for 22nd overall on a notoriously hot day.”

So basically, these articles have given me a lot to think about and a lot of hope.  And excitement!  I know that once I’m healed, I still have a lot of PR’s in me.  In fact, I think at 40 I’ll still be a better runner than I ever could’ve been at 20.  I didn’t have the fight in me then.  I didn’t have the ability to work through and embrace the pain that comes with racing and distance running.  I think a lot of that comes with age and overcoming obstacles.  As I’ve gone through harder things in my life, I’ve come out the other side a better runner.  Even things that have nothing to do with running because you get glimpses of what you’re capable of.  You make it through things that you never thought you could make it through.  When life gets tough, you don’t just lay down and die.  Some days you may feel like you want to, but you don’t.  You get out of bed and muddle through because that’s really the only option there is.  I think my younger self lacked the confidence to push hard because I didn’t know if I had it in me.  Now I do.  I have no doubt that my goals are reachable with consistency.  If I can stay healthy, no, if I can stay patient, I know I have a lot of fast races in me.

I’m so glad that the Boston marathon is over and behind me this year.  Having it looming has been a constant reminder of the cost of this injury.  It’s been too hard not to see it on the calendar and keep looking back at all I did wrong and all I wish I had done differently.  But I can’t change the past so it’s been depressing and completely not useful.  Now that’s it’s over, I can stop looking back and look forward to what’s in store for me over the next year.  And I’m pretty excited.

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