25 weeks from now, I will be standing at the end of the Detroit Free Press Marathon after completing my 26.2 mile journey knowing that I got there very intentionally. You don’t run a marathon by accident. You don’t just stumble out the door, trip into a jog, and end up at the finish line with a banana and a medal. When I accomplish this previously unthinkable goal, I’ll get there because I was prepared. I’ll get there because I did the work. Because I put in the hours during training… training that officially started yesterday.
While the far more intense 17-week marathon training won’t start until late June, yesterday began the impactful tool in preparing for your race – base training.
Base training, for the uninitiated, is nearly exactly what it sounds like. You’re building a base level to be prepared for the more intense training that comes down the road. You’re bringing your body to a base level of fitness. Teaching yourself the discipline of running four days a week. Learning the difference between “easy” and “hard” runs. It teaches your body how to function and prepare for the grind that’s ahead. Many running “experts” argue that your success in the marathon really is born more in a good base training than anywhere else.
That being said, it’s slow. It’s not super challenging. It’s really a basic level of fitness.
Wait!! Wait!!! Where are you going? Please… don’t click the back button. Gimme a second.
I know… I know… I promised not to become “that guy” and just talk about running stuff all the time now that I’ve committed to a marathon. I swear I’m going somewhere with this.
A lot of runners, especially experienced ones, will choose to skip base training completely. Some feel it’s beneath them and that they’d be almost regressing to dial back the intensity for two months. But, what it usually comes down to is a lack of patience. They want to get into the good stuff. They want to dig into the meat. They figure these three or four mile runs are never going to get them to the 15, 18 or 20 milers. So they skip it. They blow past it and try to skip ahead. Then they get hurt or they get frustrated. They get to the tough parts and they’re just not prepared. They wanted it quickly, but found out they weren’t ready for it.
So often in life when we’re pushing towards a goal or making a big change, we don’t want to put in the time for base training. We don’t want to take the time to build the basic skills necessary to handle the hard parts when the grind gets tougher. We want to skip ahead to the “good stuff” only to realize we weren’t ready when the road got tough.
People who win the lottery are exponentially more likely to squander their fortune than the people who worked years or decades for it. Why? Because they skipped base training.
Do you know why nearly half the patients who have gastric bypass surgery gain all of the weight back (or more)? They skipped base training.
Why do up to 90% of restaurants fail in the first year? Because people want to fast forward straight to owning a restaurant without learning how run one. They skipped base training.
Chasing dreams is hard. Changing your life can seem impossible. Becoming the person who you’ve always wanted to be can feel insurmountable. Why? Because it very rarely happens quickly. It’s a marathon.
But, it’s one you can finish. And the best way to make it to the finish line is to be prepared. Do the work.
Do you have the patience to do the base training?