5 Ways to Play the Long Game

We are an immediate gratification society. It’s not a complaint, it’s a fact. Technology makes everything available in a matter of seconds. Our favorite music is on demand, our splits and pace are just a click away.

How many Garmin pictures do YOU see on Instagram every day?

Every other running blog/twitter buddy is telling their thousands of followers that you can run a marathon in 6 weeks because THEY did. You can run three marathons in two months because THEY did. You can run a 5K, 10K, half-marathon, and full marathon in 3 days because THEY did.

And you could.

If you’re in it for the short game.

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The long game is playing for the win at the end of the game, not leading at halftime. In running, that translates into smart training, strategic racing, and taking the time to recover properly.

You can DO anything you want. You can run a marathon a week. You can run back-to-back marathons on a Saturday and a Sunday. You can exclusively run, and maybe throw in the occasional plank and foam rolling session, and ignore that nagging foot pain.

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If you’re in it for the long game, here are 5 things you need to do:

1. Strength train. Don’t argue with me about it. Just do it. You need it, I promise.

2. Space out your goal races (key word: RACES, not fun runs)

  • 5-6 months between marathons
  • 3-4 months between half marathons
  • 2-3 months between 10Ks
  • 1-2 months between 5Ks

3. Cycle your training. High mileage weeks mixed in with low mileage weeks, track repeats mixed with tempo runs, hill workouts mixed with strides.

Run beastly hills. I suggest running them with friends.

Run beastly hills. I suggest running them with friends.

4. Address your aches and pains. Yes, I’m in physical therapy and I’m totally biased but overuse injuries will come back to haunt you. Get them fixed. Do your PT homework.

5. Respect your rest days/weeks. Take the time to recover from your race before you go bananas training into the next. TAKE TIME OFF FROM RUNNING.

Have a tough time taking time off? Snuggle a baby. You'll never want to move.

Have a tough time taking time off? Snuggle a baby. You’ll never want to move.

Play the long game. You want to be running when you’re 101, right?

Fauja Singh, age 101.  (Image courtesy of Getty Images)

Fauja Singh, age 101.
(Image courtesy of Getty Images)

Run smart, friends.

Now go out and run.

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