It's about the Miles

Last week I ran my 4th marathon.

In the previous three, my time got progressively slower for each one. I’m getting older, so that’s understandable… but I wanted to turn the trend around. Ultimately, I did; I was able to beat my last two times.

Some people prep for marathons by talking about them. They tell their family and friends. They read books or blog posts about running marathons.

Others prepare by outfitting themselves properly. They focus on buying the gear, the Gatorade, the nice running shoes. Gotta make sure I’m not held back by the wrong equipment. Gotta make sure I don’t look like a newbie. There are plenty of people willing to sell you things to persuade you that you’re ready.

But unless you’re performing at professional levels, neither of those focuses make much of a difference. Really, it’s about the miles.

I’ve been waking up early, putting in 15-20 miles a week for the last 4 months. The theory was if I put in more miles than I did last time, then I’d get a better time. That proved true.

It didn’t matter that the weather was warm, with 94% humidity. It didn’t matter that my shoes, according to my brother, were “not fit to wear while mowing your lawn” (where does he come up with this stuff?).

I’m a big believer in the unglamorous consistent grinding effort that we often don’t see behind the moments of triumph. I’m going to back off of running for a while, but whatever I end up doing instead, you can bet I’ll be planning on putting in the miles.