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The 3 Ds of Marathon Success: Discipline. Dedication. Determination.

Posted by Ty Velde  March 15, 2014 07:42 AM

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Every Thursday evening or Friday morning, my wife and I go through what seems to have become weekend planning ritual. It goes something like thisÖ. ďWhatís running schedule this weekend? How far are you planning to go? What day and time are you looking to get your miles in?Ē

Itís a seemingly weekly negotiation we go through, as Iím currently training for Boston and she is training for a half marathon later in the spring. As we have two young children and both work, training is not something we can do simultaneously, but rather itís something we need to find the time to do individually and fit into what is already a very packed and hectic weekend schedule.

While I love the fact that we are both runners, it does present some challenges and at times, can make you pause for reflection.

Specifically, when planning our running schedule for last weekend (March 8) my wife let me know that she was going to be meeting a friend for a run at 6:45 a.m. which meant that she would not be back until 8:15 a.m. Seeing that we had a packed schedule starting at 9 a.m., this meant that if I wanted to get my designated ďSaturday milesĒ in, I was going to have to make a very early Saturday morning of it.

Therefore, I was faced with a decision. Get some extra weekend sleep or opt for a 5 a.m. Saturday morning wake-up call. Well, what do you think I chose?

Of course I chose the 5 a.m. wake-up call, as I wanted to make sure I got the miles in!

While my run last Saturday was nothing to crazyÖapproximately seven miles and I was planning to do my longer run on Sunday (18 miles), something about how it came to be and the decision making process that when into it made me reflect on it a bit differently. In short, I came to realize that the reason I was up and running on this early Saturday morning went beyond the miles.

I was out there because of three defining factors that I like to call The 3 Dís: Discipline, Dedication, and Determination.

D1: Discipline
When training for a marathon you must be disciplined. At the very least, this applies to your training schedule, mileage and fitness. For others it even extends to their diet, social activities and even vacation plans. However, one thing that cannot be denied is that when it comes to training for and running a marathon itís not something for the faint of heart. For 99% of us this means making and sticking to a plan, both in the short and long term, and trying to not deviate from it no matter what hurdles or challenges life throws at you.

D2: Dedication

Running a marathon is not about short term rewards or gain. Itís about realizing a long term goal and vision. To do so requires dedication. Ask anyone who has run a marathon and they will tell you that itís much more than running a race, but that in reality itís journey. However, to complete this journey you must be dedicated to your pursuit and realize that success is the sum of many parts, inclusive of weeks and months of training, that together prepare you for the race you actually will run.

D3: Determination

Letís face it, sometimes itís just easy to give-up or give in to the temptation of ďeaseĒ. As weíve all realized by now, training for and running a marathon is not easy, in fact itís quite difficult. Besides the physical challenge of prepping your body to run 26.2 miles, there are the scheduling challenges of getting in your runs, the activities your are forced to forgo, and much more beyond this. But what keeps us going? Determination. Itís about not giving in. Itís about accepting the offer to run as a challenge. Itís about staying true to yourself and the goals you have set.

Ultimately, when I went out for my run last Saturday, I initially left the house with the mindset of making sure that I was sticking to my schedule and getting in the miles. But throughout the course of a mere 45 minutes or so, I came to realize that the reason I was out there was so much more than that. I was out running, because I was disciplined and focused. I was out running because I was dedicated to my pursuit of training. Most importantly I was out running, because I was determined to stick to my goals.

The beauty of the three Dís is that they are traits that reside with us all. These are certainly not traits that are unique to me. They are also characteristics that unite us a community.

Most importantly, as you go through these last few weeks of training leading up to race day, take a moment to reflect on the discipline, dedication and determination you have exhibited so far. I say this, because I am confident that within this vision you will in turn find the strength to carry you throughout the rest of your training, and ultimately across the finish line, come Monday, April 21.

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Look for updates, news, analysis and commentary from the following.
  • Steve Silva, Boston.com senior producer, two-time Boston Marathon sub-four hour runner.
  • Ty Velde is a 16-time Boston qualifier who's completed 12 consecutive Boston Marathons and 25 marathons overall. Ty is now training for his 13th Boston run and will provide training tips for those who train solo and outside, no matter what temperature it is.
  • Rich 'Shifter' Horgan is a 19-time Dana-Farber Marathon Challenge team member who runs in honor of his father, who died of colon cancer. He will provide updates on local running events with a focus on the charitable organizations that provide Boston Marathon entries for their organization's fund raising purposes

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