In all my years of running, I probably never received better advice than this, “The key to success in the art of distance running is consistency.” Now I’m talking about the consistency of training day in and day out, no matter what the weather may be, not about the consistency of your morning bowl of Cream of Wheat.
Sunny and warm weather is easy to run in, but if you have been outside at all in the last six months or so you would realize that Mother Nature has not been very kind to us. Even as I write this, the rain is pounding down, wind is whipping and its seems like it’s 38 degrees. This is not a sunny and warm day, but as every good distance runner worth his or her salt can tell you, you must go out and run anyway. This is the only weather that we have therefore we must run in it or else!
When I was just a pup on the running circuit, I ran under the tutelage of National Marathon Champion and All-American Carl Hatfield. Hatfield instructed me into thinking on a global scale rather than a tri-state scale. Just because the weather was bad was no excuse not to run. He said that we are not competing against just people in our neighborhood, we were competing against everybody in the world. Our weather may be lousy, but the weather where our tough opposition is training could be perfect. Therefore we could not afford to miss a day of training just because of a little bad weather, because our competition was training somewhere else and they may be having a nice sunny day.
About the only times I do not suggest you train is during a hurricane, a tornado, or a lightning or ice storm, other than that it is ahead full speed. Try to use the foul weather to your advantage. Take the attitude that you will not be defeated by this inconvenience and bear down just a little bit harder as you run the workout. With each drop that whacks you in the eye you get tougher…with every gust of wind that stands you up, just grit your teeth, put your head down and run harder into that wind. After a while you will see that when bad weather rolls around, you actually look forward to running in it. You need and enjoy the challenge brought to you by nature.
Now that we’ve got you running in all sorts of conditions, we must make sure that your training is consistent. Running every third day or so, or going for an occasional run is not going to do it. You’ve have to be a zealot and a Spartan and a little bit of a masochist to be successful at this sport. You’ve got to train religiously. (This does not mean only on Sunday.) That’s the zealot part. The Spartan part is up to you but the Spartans of Ancient Greece were, well, Spartans! According to Webster’s Dictionary a Spartan is “marked by self-discipline and self-denial with the avoidance of luxury or comfort.” A true Spartan is undaunted by pain or danger. Maybe those Spartans were a bit much but a good distance runner could learn a lot from a true Spartan. You’ve got to be a lean, mean running machine.
When your training becomes as constant as the tax lien on your house, you will begin to see improvement. The more your body does a certain thing, like running, the better it gets at it. The body will actually adapt itself to its most efficient gait. Your running will become as fluid as the rain. Your muscles will get toned and strong with each stride. Your body will also break down your intake of food better to aid in you running and over-all feeling of well-being.
Running on a consistent basis can also fool a few people as to how old you are. Some runners who have been at it for many years do not look their age. Take me for example…I think I look pretty good for a man of 83 years of age. And I’ve only been at this running thing for around 30 or them! I guess its that good clean living and getting the consistency right on my daily Metamucil milkshake.
So be consistent in your training, go about it and life with zeal, watch what you eat and drink and you’ll look really good when they close your coffin, hopefully several decades from now.
Hey! Is that a funnel cloud? I gotta get my running stuff on….this could be another wet and windy run…With any luck we’ll get hail! Maybe locusts too!!!