Patience When Running - Work hard, but stay smart when training for a marathon.

Patience when running. The most underrated quality a dedicated runner can have. I said “dedicated” runner by the way. I don’t want someone who runs a couple times a week to read this and think they should go down to running once a week. Patience for a dedicated runner requires immediate attention to any injuries. It means not doing too much too soon. It means being able to walk away from a workout that isn’t working out. It could even mean walking away from a race that you had planned for months.

I have to tell myself this next statement when I think the whole world is lost because of an injury or a missed opportunity. “Running is a lifestyle sport.” This statement keeps me grounded. Of course, I want to run fast and have everything I do be perfect. This isn’t how running or life works for that matter.

Even professional runners have to make tough choices about when to race and when to sit one out. A small injury which affects your training can mutate into career threatening. If your training is altered because of an injury, and then you race when you really shouldn’t, you won’t perform well. You could be hurt for a long time. Instead of missing one race, they might miss multiple races. This can test even the best runner's patience when running.

When it comes to marathon training and racing, patience is vital. Training for mere mortals involves more running that you probably are accustomed too. That is fine, but you have to be aware of what you are doing. Your body can only handle so much punishment. Yes, you build endurance and strength by pushing yourself. The problem is, your body builds that endurance and strength during rest periods. If you string together too much running with too little recovery, you can get injured. Remember that most marathon races happen annually. “Running is a lifestyle sport.” If you can’t make it this year, stretch your training out and you’ll be in even better shape next time.

I have ran in races where I wasn’t in the best of shape, but I altered my goals accordingly. My training might have not been where I wanted it to be, so I don’t race at break neck pace. I have ran in races where I am in great shape, but running with an injury. Those races have actually resulted in good times. The downside is running a race when I am injured has ended my season prematurely.

These are the real questions you have to ask yourself. “Do I want to run today knowing that I probably won’t be able to run tomorrow (or for a few months)?” You should be thinking, “How can I still work out today, so I can run tomorrow and continue running in the months to come?” You might have to mix in cross training. You might have to take a day off when you don’t want to. You might have to work up your mileage slower than you want to. As long as you remember, “Running is a lifestyle sport,” you’ll be just fine.

For a serious runner who wants to do well running a marathon, use the 100 Day Marathon Plan. The workouts aren't too intense, and you will be prepared physically and mentally for your best marathon ever! 100 days to prepare is excellent for those who use patience when running.

- Written by David Tiefenthaler

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