Discipline, resilience, self awareness, confidence, grit and determination, a few of the traits of successful runners

So you have the traits of a successful runner?

I meet a lot of successful runners and they often share a combination of physical, mental, and lifestyle traits that contribute to their achievements. Here are some common traits of the most successful runners:



Successful runners are disciplined in their training. They consistently follow their workout schedules, prioritise rest and recovery, and adhere to a healthy lifestyle. To achieve any goal you need self-discipline. If you don’t have this in spades ask a coach to set the framework and structure for you to adhere to and keep you accountable.



Long-term success in running comes from consistent effort. Successful runners don't just train sporadically; they maintain a regular and sustainable training routine over the weeks, months, and years. This is probably one of the most important traits to help you realise your running goals. Running success and consistent training go hand in hand.

The trick with running is to find your training sweet spot. This is where you find the right balance between your stress and rest cycle. Once you find it you can train consistently week after week, injury free and making progress. A coach can help you find this.


Always earned, never given


Mental Toughness

When I was a lad we used to call this grit. The ability to get knocked down and get back up is important as a runner. Running can be physically demanding,  mental toughness is crucial. Successful runners can push through challenges, handle discomfort, and stay focused on their goals even when the going gets tough. Run training develops this resilience. Even the most successful runners have “pity parties” and pull out of races. Don’t be that runner. You’ve started, you finish, the only exception is injury.


Do or do not, there is no try.



You must be able to set clear and achievable goals, this is a hallmark of successful runners. Whether it's completing a specific distance, achieving a personal best, or conquering a challenging race, having goals provides direction and motivation. It also provides something for you to measure training progress against. When you work with a coach they will break your goals down into the constituent parts and measure the progress against each.


Successful runners are adaptable to changes in their training plans or unforeseen circumstances. They can adjust their approach based on factors like weather, injuries, or other life events without losing sight of their overall objectives.


Run today, so you can run tomorrow.



Improvement in running often takes time. Successful runners understand that progress may be gradual, and they patiently work towards their goals, knowing that consistency and dedication will yield results over time. If you find yourself in a plateau chat with a coach to see what you could introduce to kick start the progress again.


Positive Mindset

Maintaining a positive attitude is key to overcoming setbacks and staying motivated. Successful runners focus on the positive aspects of their training, celebrate small victories, and view challenges as opportunities for growth. Even on “bad” training days there will be some benefit taken from the activity. I see this a lot in runners who decide not to train, without even trying, whilst some days it is better to stay in bed, these are by far the minority. In most cases, once you start, you will feel a whole lot better.


Keep on, keeping on



Understanding your body and recognising signs of fatigue or potential injury is crucial. Successful runners pay attention to how their bodies respond to training, this allows them to make informed decisions about when to push harder and when to pull back.


Most injuries are avoidable, we just ignore the signs


Rest and Recovery

Prioritise rest and recovery, they are integral parts of training. Successful runners understand the importance of adequate sleep, proper nutrition, and active recovery to allow their bodies to heal and adapt. Listen to your body, not your watch. I remember my Garmin telling me that I needed 72 hours rest after an event. I was tired, yes, but it was clearly well out of kilter.


Artificial Intelligence doesn’t and can’t know how you feel


Continuous Learning

Successful runners are curious and open to learning. They stay informed about new training methods, nutrition strategies, and developments in the running community, continually seeking ways to improve. Always read, and ask questions of informed qualified coaches. Sometimes the information out there can be overwhelming. Make sure you get yours from a well-informed or curated source.



Injuries, setbacks, and tough races are part of a runner's journey. Sounds similar to life doesn’t it? Successful runners bounce back from disappointments, learn from challenges, and use setbacks as opportunities for growth. Remember in many events you are only ever running against yourself.


If at first you don’t succeed, try, try and try again


Social Connection

Many successful runners find motivation and support through social connections with running communities, clubs, or training partners. Sharing experiences and supporting each other can enhance the overall running experience. This also helps you share our running stories with others that truly appreciate them and not being the “running bore” at parties.


These traits will be developed over time, and different runners may emphasise different aspects based on their individual strengths and preferences. Success in running is a personal journey, and the definition of success may vary from one runner to another. One thing is certain on your running journey you will have ups and downs. You will also build confidence as a runner. Focus on what builds that confidence.

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