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Training Is An Investment: It Builds Over Time

  • By Jeff Gaudette
  • Published Sep. 26, 2013
The training time you put in now will pay off down the road. Photo: www.shutterstock.com


Growth takes time and patience, but the payoff in the end is worth it.

I’m always on the lookout for good analogies to explain how training works, especially for less scientifically based training concepts. Recently, a trip to the financial planner led me to open my first retirement account (yup, I’m that young — or that far behind, depending on how you look at it). After a few months enthusiastically checking my accounts and learning the basics of financial planning, I was struck by the parallels between investing and training and how the basic principles were remarkably similar.

This helped me better understand my own investment strategies, and since the principles of investing are widely known, I think comparing the two will help you better comprehend the big picture of your training.

Don’t Pay Attention To Daily Fluctuations

Perhaps the most notable parallel between investing and training is the need to avoid assessing progress on a day-to-day scale. My biggest mistake early in the investment process was checking my account daily, hoping to see consistent gains. To my dismay, my initial investment stayed stagnant for a few days before dropping suddenly. The motivation to invest, which had been quite high when I started, waned quickly and I started to think maybe I had made a mistake.

I see this same fluctuation in emotion happen when runners are constantly trying to measure and compare their fitness on a day-to-day basis. Like investing, training doesn’t always occur on a linear curve. Some days you make big jumps in progress, most days the fitness gains are minuscule, and a few days actually feel like they go backward. This begets a roller coaster training experience, which is hard to sustain long-term.

Your takeaway: Don’t be tempted to fixate on daily, or even weekly, changes in your fitness. Instead, look at your progression on a monthly, quarterly, or even yearly scale. It’s not easy to see the big picture, but it will ultimately lead to more consistent progression.

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Jeff Gaudette

Jeff Gaudette

Jeff has been running for 13 years, at all levels of the sport. He was a two time Division-I All-American in Cross Country while at Brown University and competed professionally for 4 years after college for the Hansons-Brooks Distance Project. Jeff's writing has been featured in Running Times magazine, Endurance Magazine, as well as numerous local magazine fitness columns.

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