On the flight back from CIM this weekend I must have had 20 different thoughts and ideas go through my head as I tried to come to figure out the many things that enabled me to PR this weekend. One of them is definitely patience, as I was reading Run to Overcome by Meb Keflezighi. The relevant excerpt from his book is below (I recommend buying the book if you want to get whole excerpt and of course all the other great things in the book):
Meb: “I need to be doing what you are doing,”
Tergat: “Put in the time” “You’ve got to gradually increase your training … I could give you my workouts, and you might be able to hang with me for a day or a week, but eventually you would break down …”
I doubt I can say it any better. Here are two extremely talented individuals discussion something which is probably one of the greatest pitfalls for us more average runners run into. Getting fitter takes time and patience, and to be honest as you get fitter the patience, time and effort required to keep seeing incremental gains continues to grow.
The most common and most detrimental issue I’ve observed over the last two years lead to injury is when different element of an individual’s fitness don’t match up. After training consistently for a while I might find that my aerobic fitness has improved greatly, it’s “easy” for me to run 10 to 20 seconds faster a mile on every run. My breathing isn’t labored, I don’t feel tired during the day and so on. The problem comes in if my tendons, soft tissues and muscles haven’t caught up to my aerobic fitness. Maybe I need more strength in my hips, my quads, my feet … wherever the weakness might be running 20 seconds faster a mile will increase the pressures on these areas drastically. So there’s a good chance I’ll get injured, won’t be able to run and then lose some of the aerobic fitness I’ve spent so much time building. This has to be the most frustrating situation to be for a runner so it’s understandable that our impatience gets the better of us. The question each of us have to answer is what is the risk and can we just wait 6 months and what can we do to accelerate the development of the other half of our fitness. Maintaining this fine balance between the different things that all need to be in relative harmony to perform well is what makes training over the long-term an art and a science. In the end I know that consistent training over the long haul is more beneficial than spurts of focused training with forced injury in between … so be patient, stay balanced, YOU WILL GET FASTER.