We’ve all heard the stories of the notorious course cutters in our beloved running communities – those runners who fabricate literal shortcuts to the finish line, bypassing fellow runners along the way and skipping altogether the inherent trials and tribulations borne of an honest race effort. As with most things in life, there are no true shortcuts in running and there is no instant gratification. Success demands grit, determination, consistency, and perseverance. But life doesn’t always allow for that singular focus many of us once enjoyed with our favorite pastime. Our priorities shift, sometimes incrementally and sometimes dramatically, sometimes by choice and sometimes by circumstances outside of our control.
Not too long ago, my own shift in priorities landed me in unfamiliar territory, and I had somehow become an unstructured, infrequent runner (gasp!). If you try to return to the sport you love after a lengthy break, as I am doing, you’ll have to regain the physical conditioning you once took for granted; your body must be able to handle the demands of a training program. We all know how daunting it is to get back into peak running shape after taking off a few weeks or even a few months. Try three years!