Setting goals is very important in all aspects in life including running. Goals must be realistic, specific and attainable.
Many times people begin training and set very big goals. Big goals are great. However, you cannot expect immediate gratification for these long term goals. We live in a society of instant gratification. If you want something you order it online and it is there the next day. You don’t have to work for it. When you set big goals, you need to recognize they will take time and you will need to work for it. It may take a months or even years to achieve a goal. You must commit and invest in the entire process. You must be willing to do what others are not doing. Many endurance athletes spend their entire lives working towards a big goal. You must have the patients and be willing to make sacrifices for those goals.
Are you willing to make sacrifices?
Do you get your run in when it has been a long day?
What drives you?
Running is not an instant gratification sport.
Why does it take so long to see results?
There are many physiological processes that go into training. As you introduce a new stimulus to your body, it will take time for your body to adapt. When your body makes adaptations, you become better/faster/stronger. As your body adapts, you can increase the stimulus to go to the next level. Everyone’s body is different. Some people adapt much quicker than others. It is important to not introduce more than one stimulus without allowing adaptation to occur. You should not increase your mileage and increase your intensity at the same time. Too many new stimuli additions without your body’s adaptations could lead to injury.
It is also important to keep in mind that training must be progressive. It is important to hit benchmarks to your goals along the way. In order to run a 4 hour marathon you must first be able to run low 1:50 for half marathon. It is important to work to develop speed in the shorter races in order to become most effective at longer distances races.
The longer you work at it and the more you invest the more rewarding it is to reach the pinnacle. But remember there is always another mountain to climb. No one said it would be easy, they just said it would be worth it.