The other day I was preparing for a long run and was just really dreading it. I had been sick not too long ago and my shoulder has been bothering me. I stepped out the door, turned on some music, and just started moving. As the miles ticked by, I noticed them but tried my best to pay very little attention.
I knew that if I started focusing on how far I had gone or how much I had left, I would mentally start to unravel. This was a great reminder that the one key to success in running, is patience.
We must be patient with our bodies when we first begin, come back from an injury, or return after having a baby. Running asks a lot of your body and if you push too hard too fast, it will rebel.
As we continue to progress, we must be patient with our training and trust the basics. Training plans are created in a manner to build you up over time. Running fast every day, or progressively making every weekend run longer, isn’t what prepares you for an upcoming race. Being patient and following your prescribed slow runs and periodized plans will slowly build your running up to race day.
Looking too far ahead, whether it be a full plan or one single speed workout can leave you mentally drained. While we need long term goals and an awareness of what the entire workout will be, it is important to worry about each week or each interval as they come along.
Long training runs can teach you a lot about yourself and your training. The key to success is patience. Take each mile nice and slow. Worry about the one you are in and stay in that moment. The next one isn’t going anywhere and it will be waiting for you when you get there. Look ahead at the horizon, and trust that your body will take you there.
Running is of course a physical activity, but it requires just as much mental diligence. To become a stronger runner, we have to look within ourselves. We have to calm the chatter that goes on in our heads and just relax. Quite the noise in your mind, put one foot in front of the other, and be patient from the inside out.