Mr. Consistent...I need to meet him
This winter I’ve been keeping company with a demon. He’s not a runner, not a supporter of my goals, and he’s led me down a lazy path. His name is Inconsistency.
Somewhere along the line, I stopped hanging out with his opposite twin, Mister Consistency. Instead, Inconsistency has been infecting my running, eating, and even my sleep.
Consistency is one of the most powerful traits we bring to our running—for that matter, to our nutrition, our jobs, our sleep, and our living. Yet, we often abandon it in a series of bad trade-offs, poor judgment, exceptions, and neglect.
Consistency is an undervalued, powerful tool that produces unimaginable gains in our running. Ask any first-time marathoner what got them to the start line. It’s not any one individual workout, meal, or supplement. It is the day-in-day-out consistency that started small and became the fabric of each day leading up to the race.
Consistency is the secret to achievement—not like promises of Olympian stamina, instant sculpted bodies and overnight ripped abs that we read about. Ask anyone who’s successfully managed their weight to achieve their goal. They don’t know any more about calories, fats, sugars, and carbs than anyone else. They know consistency. It's "everydayness."
Consistency puts us at our best, even leaves us a little smug because we know deep down, with proven certainty that it works. Regular, consistent running wins out over grand, intricate but skipped training every time.
Consistency grounds us in our running goals. My periods of consistency are what steel me against flimsy excuses and bad choices. Consistency reminds me of my priorities, to drop what I’m doing at night to do stretches and crunches—because I’m building on what I also did yesterday, and getting ready for tomorrow’s run.
Consistency takes the challenge of daily running struggles and reframes them into daily running habits and productive routines. It helps us find our strength in smaller increments. Through consistency, we accumulate a storehouse of experience that helps us face the tough running stuff. Consistency frees us from the enormity that keeps us feeling trapped.
Consistency builds patience. It helps us deal with distractions and let go of running setbacks. When we’re consistent, we treat ourselves better. We get off our own backs for our indiscretions.
Consistency is mightier than extreme dieting regimens and meaningless streaks of training. Consistency overcomes fatigue and prevents injuries and stupidities. It equips us to take control of ourselves and get things done.
Joe Henderson, former editor or Runners’ World, once wrote a column detailing a year of training he invested in consistency. He ran most days of the week “for about an hour,” and on the weekend he ran “for about two hours.” No particular emphasis on mileage or speed. The result: he ran PRs at half a dozen distances that year—all guided by the consistency of his running.
Tom, I’d like to re-introduce you to MC—Mister Consistency.
Consistency sign on Flickr by Godzilla 128