Consistency! Consistency! Consistency!
If you hadn’t guessed from the title, this blog entry is about being consistent with training and racing, no matter which one you do more. At the risk of dating myself, I want to share a lyric from one of my favorite 90s-era west coast rappers, Suga Free: “If you stay ready, you ain’t got to get ready”. I know…sounds easy, right? Well, as most runners will tell you, being consistent with our training, diet and general fitness is one of the most difficult things to do in today’s fast-paced, mile-a-minute world.
Having been a part of the running/racing community for a little over ten years, I’ve been privileged to meet and talk with people from around the world about their running experiences and how running has changed their lives. One thing that has always stuck out to me was the longevity of some of the people I talked with. I’m not talking about solely age either – no, I’m talking about the number of years that some of these people have been hitting the trail or pavement. I was struck by how many runners have been participating in the sport for two decades or longer. I couldn’t believe it!
If conventional wisdom was to be believed, the average runner could look forward to no more than a decade of running before their knees would give out or their hips would spontaneously combust from all the stress and strain. How then were these runners able to defy the odds? How were they still standing before me and not wheelchair-bound??
The answer, as it turns out, was simple. They are consistent in their training regimen. Of course, they would say they have suffered a few injuries throughout the years, but the key to coming back to the sport each time was being consistent with their training, even if that meant starting from the beginning at times. I was incredulous at first. The answer to a long life in this sport couldn’t be that simple. However, it was and over the years I would come to discover this for myself.
I found that the best way to establish a solid baseline for any distance was consistent training (with careful consideration of frequency and duration as well). To be able to run the races I wanted to run in any given year, I had to identify and stick with a training plan that worked for me and helped me to attain the goals I set for myself. Is it easy? Nope. Not in the least. I work full time and would often have to travel to other cities for short stints which would disrupt my well-laid training plans. I suffered injuries and illnesses which set my fitness back a little each time. Some days, I was just plain tired (mentally and physically) of hitting the pavement and working out.
From these experiences, I learned that part of any good training plan was rest and recovery (which I had to learn to be intentionally consistent with too). No matter the challenge, no matter how big the setback, I always managed to get my training back on track so that I could get back to racing when my mind and body were ready. I have consistency to thank for that.
I guess that’s the only “sage runner wisdom” I can offer at this stage of my life. Find the right training regimen for you, be consistent with it and, hopefully, we’ll see each other at an MCM event down the line (you can’t miss me). 😉
Greg Rouson is a MCM Diplomat. He is an Army Veteran, a Marathon Maniac, Half Fanatic and MCM Runners Club Member. You can find him on Instagram @roustance.
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