Wow, what a shocking and crazy, insane secret, huh? After all that build-up it may sound anti-climactic, but it’s true. If you want to get better at anything the secret is practice; but you can’t just practice ONLY when you want to or feel like it.
There will be days when it will feel like a grind, when your body is sore from past efforts, when it’s too hot, when it’s too cold, when there are gale winds blowing in all directions. When there is a slight breeze blowing slightly north by northwest and there is a hangnail on your right pinkie toe.
If we only ran when it felt like we were walking on clouds we might get in a run or two a month. Scratch that because if you go that long without training those random runs will feel like a slap to the face and feel like junk. That slap to the face is where most people get in trouble; they plan to ‘start running’ and those first few weeks leave them sore and then they just stop. You have to get over the hump. But I digress.
I just finished an article in the July/August Running Times, they profiled a few different coaches/athletes and at the end they asked them all for a piece of advice. Most of them were just reiterations of one thing: consistency is key. I’ll toast to that.
If you’re the kind of person that has to have an actual race you’re shooting for, you can’t only train for a few weeks/months right before a race and then stop cold, only to up that ante when another ‘must do’ event crosses your path. Or you can, but if you want to improve that will be a difficult road to take.
The body works on tearing itself down and building it back up. Muscles get stressed, recover, and then allow you to do more. Get faster, go longer, all that good stuff. Cardiovascularly you want a strong aerobic base, and that is something that only consistency will grant you. The speed and that may come back quicker, but that aerobic capacity isn’t something you can fake.
So put in that pracitce, put in those miles, put in the training. That’s what also makes you strong, separates the wanters from the do-ers. You don’t have to make all of those days running either; in fact you shouldn’t if you’re new or injury prone. That’s where our friend cross-training comes in. But if you want to steal that super-secret, miracle to getting better…it’s getting sweating and getting it done….consistently.