If you asked most people what traits they think are important for someone who wants to be a successful runner you’d likely hear terms like “fast” and “strong” getting mentioned. Although those are indeed nice qualities to have, they don’t necessarily make someone a successful runner. In fact, the best traits a runner can possess are often not physical at all, but instead are intangible qualities that help set them apart from the crowd and even give them an edge over someone who is quicker and more agile than they are. With that in mind, here are five traits that every successful runner possesses.
Let’s face it: Running is not an easy form of exercise to get into. It can be downright grueling on both your lungs and your legs at times, particularly when you’re first starting out. Those early days of running can often be cruel, and it doesn’t always get better later on when you’re ramping up your speed and distance, either. It is tough enough that at times you’ll wonder why you ever decided to take up the sport.
But successful runners are tenacious. They force themselves to push through the pain and adversity, even when their body is begging them to stop. Over time, that tenacity begins to pay off in the form of increased cardio fitness and better overall strength. But in order to get to that point, we must be willing to suffer a bit along the way and push ourselves to our physical limits from time to time.
One of the keys to becoming a successful runner is staying consistent with your workouts. That means setting a training schedule and sticking to it as closely as you can. The only way to become a better runner is to run on a regular basis, which isn’t always easy when you lead a busy lifestyle.
But good runners don’t just find the time to run, they make time to run. It is the constant repetition over countless miles that helps build strength and conditioning, creating successful runners in the process. If you want to see progress, be consistent with your training.
It may seem counterintuitive, but it’s true: Successful runners often have a short memory when it comes to both their successes and failures. In other words, they don’t dwell on how well or poorly they’ve performed on any given day but instead recognize that there will be some training sessions that go great and others that will seem like a struggle. This is natural, of course, and being able to shrug off the bad days will allow you to continue to focus on long-term goals rather than overanalyzing why things didn’t go as planned.
Very successful runners are often highly focused individuals too. They set goals for themselves and work hard to achieve them. Whether they want to run a 5K, 10K, or a half or full marathon, they commit themselves to a training program and focus on getting physically and mentally ready for the challenge ahead. It is this focus that helps see them through the more difficult segments of their preparation and keeps them training even when it feels like progress is slow or nonexistent.
Perhaps the most important trait of all is confidence. It is the feeling that comes with knowing that your running workouts have paid off and your fitness goals are within reach. It is an inner strength that reassures you that you’re on the right path and that no matter what challenges lie ahead, you’re ready for them. Confidence doesn’t mean complacency, however. It’s just knowing that you are ready to push yourself even harder, and that your body will respond positively to the new goals that you set for yourself.
The best part about this list of traits is that you’re not necessarily born with any of them, but they are instead developed over time. And as you become a stronger runner physically, these individual qualities will continue to grow too, making you more mentally tough over time as well.