Friday, April 10, 2009


"I don't run to see who's faster, I run to see who's tougher." -- Steve Prefontaine

Like many runners, I went through a period where I was mildly obsessed with Steve Prefontaine. He was fierce, brave and, above all, tough. Looking at videos of his races, you see he just had more guts and at some point was prepared to suffer more. Most of us aren't out there doing that. We're just trying to keep in shape after sitting in an Aeron all day. Yet when I run, or nowadays swim and bike, I always think endurance stuff come back to toughness. It's not quite the same as persistence. Persistence is keeping at it, through thick and thin. But it's toughness that makes you feel OK with going beyond what's comfortable. At some point of a race, more is asked. My advice to marathoners like Lam before a race is always the same: Be tough.


The Laminator said...

Yes, but can you be tough (in a race, especially a long distance one) if you were never persistent (in training)?

Brian Morrissey said...

well, i think the two go hand in hand. toughness alone is a recipe for injury not success, since persistence results in preparation.

i don't know about you, but i get told stories from non-runners about how a friend of a friend decided to run a marathon without training -- and then drank lots the night before, etc, etc. it always annoys me. first, you can't run a marathon well, no matter how athletic you are, without plenty of preparation. but more so, it's disrespecting the persistence that endurance training demands.

good luck in boston. run your splits and you'll succeed. you've done the work, it's time to perform.

runner-grrl said...

Liked your post. I've always believed if you put me next to another woman equally trained / matched in a race, I will beat her simply because I'm willing to suffer more (probably). I've had to call on toughness during unusually hard workouts, but like you said--it can lead to injury. I've learned to take my easy days easy! --Alex (aka run350)