The Marathon Approach

Say we line up for a 26.2 mile marathon. You decide you’re going to get ahead by all-out sprinting from the start. What happens? You break down, get injured, or just burn out. The folks who paced the race for the long term, they eventually pass you.

Many of us approach fitness just this way, like a sprint rather than a marathon. People drawn to our thing are often “Hard Chargers” and predisposed to push too hard, too quickly. Plus, workouts are addictive physically and mentally. So, it’s easy to force ourselves to workout with injuries we know to rest, ignore our body’s signals or burn out. Being patient and disciplined is much harder.

Think of your fitness instead as a lifelong journey. Listen to your body and mind. Take some time off when you need it. Go lighter if your bod says so. Rather than grind out more miles or workouts, work on flexibility if you feel an injury coming on. Don’t expect miracle improvements every week. And so on, so you’ll have this much fun a decade or five from now.

Michael Girdley