It’s part of a great Walt Disney quote, “Around here, however, we don’t look back very long. We keep moving forward opening up new doors and doing new things because we’re curious…” It’s also the life mantra for Lewis in the Disney movie Meet the Robinsons. If you haven’t seen the movie (or if you thought it was created by someone that was on a serious acid trip) you should go back and watch it again. It’s interesting to me, because the original Disney quote is focused on innovation and not resting on one’s prior accomplishments. But in it’s stripped down form in Meet the Robinsons, it’s transformed into a powerful message about perseverance.
Throughout history endurance running and perseverance have been linked. From Phidippides and his 26.2 mile run after the battle of Marathon, to the early Church’s exhortation “let us run with perseverance the race that is before us,” perseverance has been exemplified by running. If your just started running a few weeks ago, after the first of these articles was posted, every run might have felt great up to this point. It might seem as though every step is onto clouds while a happy sun winks at you like something out of a mid 90’s Raisin Bran commercial. I hope that every run is like that for you. When your runs become a struggle (and believe me, they will – heat and humidity will take their toll, minor aches and pains are triggered, a blister develops – something will come up) that’s when you need to learn the art of perseverance. For me, the start of training is usually the hardest part. Every stride feels like a struggle. When I am out running, my brain runs through every reason that I should be doing something else. My kids need help. it’s getting dark. I need to talk with my wife about something. There’s an email I need to send. The Disdads.com chat is probably missing me…. The mental string of excuses goes on and on. It’s only interrupted by different parts of my body telling my brain that they hurt.
- Find a friend to run with. Talking with a friend while you run is a great way to pass the time and it also helps ensure that you aren’t running too fast. When I’ve gone out for runs with people that have never run with someone else before, they will often comment that running with someone made it much easier. I find running with a friend also gives me motivation to keep going when I want to stop, because I don’t want to let my friend down.
- Listen to music. You have to be careful with this. I usually only ever run with one earbud in, because I want to be able to hear approaching bikes or cars. Music is a great distraction and it gives you a tempo. If you can find music with the right beat it can help you maintain a pace.
- Schedule your runs and talk to people about those runs. I find that if I’ve told someone I’m going to do something, it’s harder for me to come up with excuses not to follow through. I’m not saying go talk to random strangers at work about your running. (Although that may help with #1 above). But if I tell my wife I’m planning a 6 or 10 mile run in the morning then I tend to be more motivated to get up and actually do it. Also, during the run, if I’ve told someone a distance I plan on running it’s harder for me to stop short of that distance. It’s even better if I’ve committed to a distance and have someone running it along with me.
The best way to ensure that your endurance training is injury free is to increase mileage gradually. You can’t cram for a Marathon. As a result, perseverance is extremely important. Today’s three mile run is providing the foundation for next week’s four-miler. So when you’re out there this week and your head’s telling you to stop, I hope that you can persevere through it and keep moving forward.