One of things I preach is consistency. I had the opportunity to observe the benefits as displayed this morning in a running lesson with a 40 something student who’s been showing up since Sept. He’d made the decision back then to start ‘exercising’ regularly and has stuck with a program where he runs three times a week. Part of the plan included a weekly Art of Running lesson to work on improving his stride and general approach to training. .

It was a balmy winter day by Montreal standards (only -6C) . When I asked if he still wanted to go out for the run there was no hesitation on his part. He arrived wearing the right gear and after a 10 min warm up walk we were soon looping around the local park having a nice chat, even on the long up hill section of the course. 5k later we were done and I took time to congratulate him on his progress over the past 3 months and to list the number of changes that I’d noticed.

He was much fitter as demonstrated by his ability to manage the distance comfortably without complaint at a slightly faster pace in less than ideal conditions. His knees no longer bothered him, a sign of improved muscular and connective tissue strength. His form was smother, more efficient, and felt controlled and balanced. He mentioned that after the long climb up the hill he was able to recover quickly while still moving. Mentally he said he feels way more resilient and could cope with the various challenges (weather, footing, hills, pace, breathing etc ) that came up. He says he’s leaner, stronger and mentioned that he’d developed more muscle without getting bulky.

I asked him what his secret was and he said “there is no secret, I just keep showing up.”

After I wiped the tears from my little beady eyes I did point out the fact that grit and iron will were not the only, or even the main components of his success. The fact he’d created room in his schedule to train regularly made it more realistic for him to do so. The fact he taken time to revamp his approach to running…that he didn’t just continue to muscle his way around the park as he did in the past and end up injured and disheartened. The fact he’d learnt the art of running ‘slower to get faster’ had allowed him to maintain his training schedule without getting injured and to enjoy slow but steady improvement. The fact he’d gone back in the gym to do a bit of strength training but had adopted a kinder gentler lifting program that emphasized good form over big weights and big arms! The fact he’d committed to work regularly with me and to invest in the proper clothing and footwear made it easier for him to overcome minor setbacks and to meet the demands of the Montreal climate. As Alexander once said, the means will condition the ends and if you want to get your end in better condition, start with just showing up!

The ‘Just Show Up’ Principle
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