I think at one time or another we've been discouraged with our training,maybe we weren't making the gains that we think we should have or perhaps we've had a bad race or two. Bill Rodgers offers us some things to keep in mind during these difficult times. He says the following: "You have to hang on and look at the future. This is a very significant point. Running is never a waste. Everything you are doing now is all part of the grand plan. What's going to happen nine years down the road? The more you train, the more consistent you become." We tend to forget about the cumulative benefits of training year after year. It's not especially common to hear local road runners talking about where they think their running will be in five years. That's unfortunate because if they continue to train smartly and consistently, they will become stronger and more efficient runners.On a related note, I knew one athlete who raced frequently at the 5k and 10k distances and became discouraged one season with his times. He then reassessed his training and decided to make some changes.He stopped racing for a year and concentrated solely on increasing his mileage by running easily over varying terrains. Sixteen months later he ran his first marathon in the low 2:40's.This runner later told me that not running well was the best thing that happened to his running because it caused him to think and change what he was doing. He said: "My goal was always to race well and that's what ended up happening,the surprise was that it was at a distance I wasn't expecting to race at when I started." A thinking,determined and consistent runner can accomplish much.