I believe all sports require discipline, but running especially.
Remember back when you were a new runner? Those first few (or, in my case, several) runs were not easy. My lungs burned and my legs did not want to move. And, what was that sharp, twisting pain in my side?
I wanted to be a runner, though, so I kept at it. Eventually, my legs didn't require as much warming up, and my lungs felt fine. And, best of all, those side stitches became a thing of the past.
How did all of that happen? In a word - discipline
I had done a handful of 5K's before I ever considered myself a runner, but I don't recall training for any of them. Is it any wonder I crashed shortly after the first mile, walked most of the second, and then jogged/walked most of the final 1.1mile to the finish line? By committing to the training, I was able to gradually run further and walk less. Not every training run felt good, but I knew they had to be done. And, in the process, I grew to love running.
Fast forward to the here and now, and discipline is still the force behind almost every aspect of my running. For example:
Discipline keeps me accountable. If I have a race coming up, I know I have to stay in shape for it or get back in shape if I've had some down time. That means running not just my usual 3-4 runs each week, but running each of those runs with purpose.
Since I work outside the home, all of my runs need to happen around my work schedule. It's no secret I love my early morning miles, many of which happen in the wee-dark hours. Discipline not only gets me up and moving as early as 4:30 a.m. some days, but it also influences my not staying up any later than necessary on the evening(s) prior. For a night owl like myself, that's tough.
|One of my 5-milers at 5 a.m.
Also, on the flip side, discipline is a necessary force in preventing injury. Like, for example, when your plan (or your coach) has an easy 4-mile run on the agenda...but you feel so good that you want to run farther and faster than what is prescribed. Ultimately, as runners, we're not always objective on what's right and what's wrong when we're in the heat of an adrenaline rush. It's easy to forget there may be consequences for over-doing it. Discipline, my running friends, is key to staying on track and avoiding over-training.
What about cross-training? We're all runners, but we also need to do other things. Our running parts need down time, and our "non-running" parts benefit from movement. Yep, discipline keeps me doing other things on my non-running days...yoga, walking, strength-training, stair-climbing.
|I'm not in love with bike riding (yet), but I'm getting there...
Rest/recovery days are part of most training programs, but how disciplined are we about taking them? Well, I can assure you that I honor my rest days. We all love those feel-good endorphins, and most of us want to stay in shape (if we're already "there"). But rest and recovery are necessary components of fitness. A lot of people think they gain strength from the actual workout itself...but the true strength comes while recovering from the previous workout (as the muscles rebuild while the body recovers). Constantly working the muscles, without allowing them to recover, will usually lead to fatigue and (often times) injury.
|Rest and recovery for the win!
Have you ever been sidelined for a length of time, and had to stage a recovery? Probably the most difficult and challenging time for me (as a runner) was this past summer, as I recovered from emergency surgery (if you're new to my blog, full details are HERE
). Not only was I blindsided by the surgery, but I had (at the minimum) a 2-month ban from all things running while the 6-inch suture seam (alongside my knee) sealed & healed. The temptation was overwhelming to "test the waters," but I held off until my surgeon granted me the go-ahead (not until mid-September) to resume running. Alas, discipline served me well over the course of my recovery. I returned to running on Saturday, September 16th. Taking things easy enabled me to rally back rather rapidly because everything had been allowed to heal.
|I did a fair amount of muscle maintenance while recovering from surgery
So, that's a brief look into my take on discipline. It's not always easy to follow a disciplined regiman, but I am almost always rewarded for doing so.
Talk to me....Do you consider yourself a disciplined runner? Are you just as disciplined about rest and recovery? How about cross-training?
**I'm linking this with Debbie and Rachel and Lora for the Running Coaches' Corner.
**And with Deb for the Wednesday Word (the featured word is Discipline!)
I would say I am disciplined when it comes to running and working out, but since I truly enjoy them so much, I feel like I want to do those things, and often times it takes discipline to back off!ReplyDelete
Discipline is a two-edged sword (sorry for the bad metaphor)....time and again, I see so many athletes who go through training/over-training/injury cycles. It's tough to keeps things in balance.Delete
You have to be disciplined to keep up your early morning routine all year around!ReplyDelete
Disciplined, yes, but now it's such a routine...I usually wake up before the alarmmost mornings LOLDelete
Yea, I think I'm am. I get up at 4:30 and out the door at 5 for my morning runs. My goal is 3x a week. I also cross train (mostly strength) 2 or 3x a week during lunch. While I do these things, I need to start doing them with "purpose" instead of just going through the motions. Thanks for the encouragement, Kim!!ReplyDelete
I'm the same way with cross-training....I guess I'm more trying to "maintain" than "build," but still, I should have a little more of a system.Delete
When I'm training for a race, I am definitely very disciplined. When I'm not training, I'm not as "rigid" with my workouts, but I still try to stick to a schedule.ReplyDelete
You and I have so much in common! I'm less rigid when I"m not officially training for an event, but I still try to stay active.Delete
You're definitely one of the more disciplined people I know. Keep it up!ReplyDelete
Ha! Well, thanks! I have a lot of disciplined friends, too ;-)Delete
I like to think that most of us runners are disciplined, both on and off the road!ReplyDelete
No argument from me ;-)Delete
Great post! You showed such great discipline in your recovery from surgery. I'm going to try to follow your example as I work on getting this inflamed SI joint under control.ReplyDelete
My recovery was an out-of-body type of experience (at least at times it felt that way). But, we can get through any situation (or crisis?) if we just take one day at a time and stay focused on the big picture.Delete
I still remember my first run. My calves were so sore for days that I could hardly walk!!! So it definitely took discipline to get back out there!ReplyDelete
I love your discipline. I also get up early for workouts, and enjoy getting out there in the early morning especially to see the sunrise. People don't know what they're missing out on! :)ReplyDelete
I think most anything you do takes discipline and hard work--at least if you want to be good at it. I am fair at my discipline when it comes to running, but between my job, my home business, my 3 kids, and taking care of my elderly mother in my home, it's just about impossible to meet all of my running goals.ReplyDelete
I am good about sticking to a training schedule when I have one...when I'm just doing "whatever" I'd have to say I'm more disciplined about cross training and rest than I am about running!ReplyDelete
I'm definitely disciplined when it comes to running, but I need to do a better job with recovery and doing my post-run foam rolling and stretches!! I also tend to be pretty good about cross-training, though when I get busy it's the first thing to go!ReplyDelete
I think it takes a disciplined person to become a consistent runner. You showed amazing discipline this summer by listening to your doctors and following their schedule for when you could run again.ReplyDelete
Thanks for linking up!