“Frustration is the first step towards improvement. I have no incentive to improve if I’m content with what I can do and if I’m completely satisfied with my pace, distance and form as a runner. It’s only when I face frustration and use it to fuel my dedication that I feel myself moving forwards.” – John Bingham aka The Penguin
Frustration is a very good way to describe how I have felt the past four weeks since I sprained my ankle. Fortunately it was a mild sprain, but it came at an inconvenient time and interrupted my training schedule. I read this quote by Bingham today and agree with him completely. Bingham wrote for Runner’s World and now writes for Competitor magazine. He is the spokesperson for the slow-running movement and inspirational to many. He is referred to as the Penguin because of his “waddling” pace. As I have returned to my regular running plan, I have to agree that my incentive to improve is rooted in my frustration. Frustration over my injury, my overall pace, and wanting to run faster.
This morning I ran a 35 minute tempo run. Tempo is considered a quick pace sustained for a period of time. My fastest mile during my run this morning was 9:55. Yep, waddle waddle. But for me, it was zippity do da fast. There were moments when I was sustaining the pace that I wanted to slow down, but the clock was still ticking and I was determined to continue as long as my heart rate stayed under 154, my anaerobic threshold. My frustration definitely fueled my determination.
My favorite quote by Bingham is: “What distinguishes those of us at the starting line from those of us on the couch is that we learn through running to take what the days gives us, what our body will allow us, and what our will can tolerate.” Running is one of those sports that no matter how much or how hard you train, any given day can be perfect to run or a perfect storm. This weekend I will be joining close to 19,000 runners in the Cleveland Marathon, Half Marathon, and 10K. All who at the starting line learned what it takes to get there and off the couch. The best to hope for is a perfect day, strong body and strong will. As Bingham would write as he ended his articles – waddle on.