Marathoner and former American record holder Bill Rodgers once said, “No one who works a forty-hour week is ever going to beat me.”
What Rodgers is getting at is one of the most valuable assets a runner can have: consistency in training. It’s as simple as putting in the necessary time for training on a consistent basis (and without the injury, burnout, and fatigue of overly compulsive training). Having the discipline to do solid (not necessarily brilliant) track workouts, regular endurance runs, and reasonable mileage week after week, month after month, and year after year–that is what separates those who hit their running goals from those who fall short.
The bad news? It’s easier said than done.
My goal of finishing the Publix Georgia Half Marathon in 2 hours and setting a new PR was downsized quickly to just simply finishing when I lost control of my race at the halfway point. Mottoes like “Decide you want it more than you are afraid of it” were swapped out for the slightly-less-likely to appear as a RW Quote of the Day, “the longer I walk through this aid station, the longer it will take me to get back to my king-size hotel bed.”
My official finish time was 2:07:42. I did my best attempt at not hobbling as I walked with my husband and twins from the post-race finish area back to our hotel. I cried a little bit… not from the pain in my legs or the fact that most of the trek was uphill, but from the alternating currents of raw emotion, relief to be finished, and unbridled disappointment coursing through my body. Waaaaaaaaaaah!
I knew to expect hills and a tough course. I had done my pace work, track work, 10k and 5k tapering the weeks prior. But, it can take up to one year for your body to “get comfortable” with consistent, specific training demands. And, I’m simply not there yet. When a race course reduces your mental toughness to the constitution of cookie dough and turns your quads into charley-horsed bricks, there’s not much more to prove to yourself. The course has proven it for you. Atlanta Hills: 1, Sara: 0.
Congratulations to everyone out there who finished the Publix Georgia Marathon and Half Marathon this past weekend!