Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Consistency: Finding Balance in Ultrarunning

I've had the unique opportunity to interview many elite athletes in our sport. Each of those interviews had influence on my personal training. Often, learning about their methods confirmed my personal training was appropriate for what I was attempting to accomplish.  All the while, I continued to bury my head in my own training, practicing through trial and error in a determined effort to get the most out of what I had. Through those interviews, a pattern emerged. One word was almost always used by these athletes when I asked them about their training. That word was, "consistency".

I thought I knew what consistency meant. I assumed it meant something like the ability to train regularly without being forced to take breaks for injury or burn out. In fact, I still interpret "consistency" in this manner. Regardlesss, I decided to dig a bit deeper...

Merriam-Webster dictionary defines consistency in this context as, "a harmony of conduct or practice with profession". With "profession" defined as, "a principal calling, vocation or employment. The whole body of persons engaged in a calling."

In consideration of this, I now interpret this idea of consistency to be a harmony of professional practice. I love the word "harmony" because it is synonymous with balance. For me, the effort to balance the physical, mental, and spiritual components of ultrarunning are the key to success and enlightened human potential.

More miles do not always translate to better race performances. Often, the body is asking for rest but we don't listen. More intense training can often cause problems as well. More than the idea of quantity, it is the idea of maintaining that balance between physical adaptation and mental engagement. Balance requires truth talk with your subconscious. It means setting healthy, demanding goals that draw you in with fervor and passion.

We cannot simply show up at ultramarathons and expect to be prepared for the race. We cannot run occasionally or waiver in our commitment to this sport. No, ultrarunning demands consistency. It demands we pour our hearts into the idea of training our physiology and minds to be stronger tomorrow than they are today. The feeling of personal accomplishment is a direct result of your consistency and commitment to be the best you can possibly be. 

The proud smiles observed on the faces of exhausted ultrarunners are products of consistency. That effort, the sacrifice...the self discipline.  Unlike almost everything else in life, you just can't buy this stuff.

Run long and prosper,


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Thanks for your comments to Rise Over Run...I read all the comments and appreciate your time in sharing your thoughts. Run long, eat plants........Jerry