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Published October 18, 2010, 12:00 AM

Wagner: Cumulative effect of training a life metaphor

In my early days as a runner, I looked for every tip and trick to make me faster.

In my early days as a runner, I looked for every tip and trick to make me faster.

It wasn’t an easy research project, and by the time I found a credible author to base my first marathon training program on, it became clear there was only one way my times were going to see any significant decrease.

Every running coach seemed to have the same bit of advice: keep logging miles.

In short, getting better was about the cumulative effect of consistent, quality training.

It wasn’t the answer I was looking for.

As a newbie, why wouldn’t fresh legs and untapped muscle fibers allow me to run faster? How could my 10K race times continue to get slower?

Then my thinking swung to the other side of the pendulum. If I put in mega miles, then I should see dramatic improvements in my endurance and speed, right?

Finally, I decided my journey was an experiment of one. What works for me may be bad for someone else. What works for a friend may not necessarily be right for me.

But perhaps that’s why runners are a chatty bunch, constantly comparing training and workout advice to find what works best for them.

More and more, though, I am becoming a big believer in the cumulative effect.

The best part is that I’m still relatively new as a runner, and at age 38, have my best years ahead of me.

It’s become part of who I am, and I’ve consciously decided that it’s a permanent lifestyle.

At some point, I’ll lose a step out on the roads, and perhaps suffer setbacks and injuries, but that’s just one more way our sport mirrors life. How we respond to those bumps in the road define who we are.

Forum News Director Steve Wagner writes a running blog, which can be found online at runningspud.areavoices.com. He can be reached via email at swagner@forumcomm.com.