Running Consistency: It’s a sum of all the miles between the PR’s

With running, those shining races, performances worth remembering and runs where everything clicks are more just a representation of all the crappy runs, slog-fests, and uneventful miles before them. The highlights are always outnumbered by the runs done where no one else is watching, probably wouldn’t even know if you did them or not.
women art
If you checked out my Facebook wall yesterday (and you should definitely ‘like’ me! hehe) you saw a sneak peek of a collage type of project I’m working on. It has various women, different eras and poses but it’s an example of a piece of art that can’t stand alone, it needs all the smaller pieces to work. Right now I’m not done and it’s still needing more artwork clips, just like in running. You’re constantly ‘adding’ to your project with every mile, every workout, each race and all the steps forward.

Running hinges on consistency probably more-so than anything else. Built into that is self-motivation and determination because it takes those two qualities to MAKE yourself consistent. After that is probably fortitude, or maybe more correctly the inability to stop, because the honest to goodness truth is that for the most part running hurts. There, said it, and even on those ‘easy’ runs you have to hurt to a degree because otherwise you’d just be jogging or racewalking, right?

Wow, what a pep-talk, right? But let me finish because I’m still explaining here and the point is that you can’t expect to feel like you’re running on rainbows most of the time; you have to expect and anticipate the fatigue and ‘meh’ days because they will be there. They make you a runner because runners get THROUGH those days and move onto the next workout, be it a slog-fest of one of those workouts where you feel everything clicking and you’re just ON.

unicorn

Art: Cait Chock (early stuff!) lol


Your running is made up of each and every mile, it’s not just the glowing PR’s or the runs where you swear you saw a unicorn shi##ing rainbows and a leprechaun bathing in his gold. (Sorry, sort of an inside joke there…that’s my reference to where everything is ‘perfect’.) Now, there WILL be those days where you spy that unicorn, the runs where you feel like you’re outside watching yourself achieve something you didn’t know your legs were capable and you think, “Am I REALLY running this fast…by gosh, I AM!”

I also wanted to touch on the fact that you can’t let a single run define you. You can’t let a single really heinous race, workout or run get to you so much so that you DEFINE it as yourself or an indicator of your fitness. For these runs here is where it’s really helpful to remember that running is representative of the whole, and that crappy workouts come with the territory; you need them to build mental strength and also take them as learning opportunities. See if there is a REASON why you sucked so hard (sometimes there isn’t a reason either), try and learn, and then shower off and move forward.

Though, those unicorn runs only come BECAUSE of the regular old miles before them, and the miles that will come after them. Get through the slog-fests because they make it all worth it. And to be honest, us sick and twisted little glutton for punishment runners wouldn’t have it any other way.

I get back to the inability to stop…

1) What would you say is the ratio to slog-runs to ‘just regular feeling’ runs then to unicorn and rainbow runs?
I’d say most are just usual runs, the ‘real’ unicorn runs come maybe three or four times total?

2) How do you keep perspective after really bad races or workouts?
Remember the good ones I had, chances are they were right on the heels of your epic fail.

3) Name one of your unicorn and rainbow running experiences…go!

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22 thoughts on “Running Consistency: It’s a sum of all the miles between the PR’s

  1. I reckon 70% of my runs are the usual, 20% are rocking and 10% are just be happy with the fact you ran!

    After a bad run I console myself its done and statistically my next run is less likely to be a crappy one.

    Average runs make good mental ammunition for races and future runs. If I managed to get that out then this will be easy!

  2. I”d have to give up my man-card if I called them a unicorn run. Let me think of something a bit higher on the ‘stud’ factor, but basically, these days I hit one Unicorn run (rats! I said it, oops) per week with a mid-ranger and then a couple sloggers. Age has made recovery time longer than it used to be, but its all worth it.

    I do love the Leprechan image though. I’ve seen the guy too, and have had all sorts of epiphanies while running that if explained in words would lose something. It’s all kind of like “Swallowing Colors Of The Sound I Hear.” (name that tune anybody?)
    . And yes, consistency. The miles you are putting in might not be for the upcoming marathon but for the marathon a year from now.

    great stuff.

  3. I like this a lot…You know racing and PR’s are great and exciting….but being consistent and logging the miles is great too…and can be just as exciting!

  4. This is a great reminder that the hard slog is exactly that, a hard slog, and it can’t always be easy.

    I’ve been trying to run without my Garmin recently, and it’s made me a bit out of whack – I want to start listening to my body again, and running for the feeling for a couple of weeks.

    I had a crap run the other day where it turned into a major walk/run – but I think I know why, and I just let my body do the talking. I had a much better, harder run yesterday. You’re right – not a single run defines you.

    Unicorn run? My first 10km race – I was just floating in the moment. Amazing :-)

    • i’m going to cheer for u going Garmin-free!! it’s hard for us little OCD numbers people but there are times when u HAVE to sever ties with Garmy for a bit for the sake of 1) ur easy days 2) mental sanity…keep it up girl, u’ll get back to feeling like ur snappy legged self! and PS-uhh, u are still recovering from a…marathon ;)

  5. I don’t know if I can assign numbers to any of these. However, I do know the more consistent I am with running, the less slog-runs I have.
    I do believe in unicorn runs I do, I do! I love it when I have them. They can’t seem to come often enough. But that is what defines us as runners. The fact that we can overcome trials, and that we get out there and just do it every day.

  6. A great part of running is that a bad run ends, and that is it. Your next time outa unicorn run might be awaiting you!

    I had a “unicorn” run this weekend. It hurt, but I ran faster then I thought I could and set a new personal best.

  7. slog versus rainbow, love this! i think it evens out each week, and it totally depends on how we’ve gone throughout the week. are we rested, stressed, overworked, etc.

    • excellent point!! i kno after an especially hard week of training or life the chances of a slog go up…but then we taper and look forward to speedy races! :)

  8. Love this! I just had one of these types of runs actually. :) For a split second I wanted to freak out and cry, puke, and stop. I could have done that, but like you said, I wasn’t going to let this one run define everything that I have accomplished with running as of late! I did a shake it off dance and went and stretched and foam rolled. ;)

  9. I like the mathematical terminology here Cait! My ratio of slog to unicorn? Probably about 60:40. Oh people are going to think I’m lying, or on some sort of medication, but really when I get on a rainbow and unicorn running binge it sort of sticks around for a while. Especially when I have great new music or something with Bruce Willis in it to watch while I run.
    Keeping perspective is definitely helped by you lovely lady :) Whenever I have one of my less successful efforts I just remember that the bad ones make the good ones even better, and think about one of the lessons I have learned from reading your posts.
    Rainbow and unicorn experience? Probably a little while ago when I ran a PR for the 5k. That was golden.

    • PR’s ARE golden…love it!! now we need to put u in some kinda lab and find out why u are always rocking these runs?? i’m gonna say it comes back to u truly being one WAY too special chickpea! :)

  10. With bad runs I try to do more stretching and just try to relax after. It’s not worth worrying about – I like to think how I will do better on my next run instead! I’d have to say most of my runs are normal and the rest are have slog and half unicorn. unicorn runs are the best especially when it happens without trying!

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