I have been getting brand new runners lately and I thought that even us seasoned vets could use some reminding about what it takes to go from a good runner to a great runner.
1. When in doubt, something is better than nothing. Go get a mile in. Chances are, it won’t be as bad as you think it is and you’ll continue on for a few miles.
2. Slow down – it’s better to move (by move I mean run, cross train, basically sweat) for 40 minutes at a slower pace than 25 minutes at a faster pace. When you work out slower, you’re able to recover for your next workout. When you’re recovered and not sore from a hard workout, you’re more likely to get out there for that next run.
3. If you don’t run every day, move around days only if you have to. There is a pattern and a flow to how your workouts should be arranged. Become a planner. Know you have a run/workout scheduled and plan to get it in. Try not to stack hard days next to each other without some planned rest before and after. As you become more seasoned, you can get away with this, but as a new runner, you’ll want to go in an easy-hard-easy pattern.
4. If you’ve taken a complete off day and should have worked out, then you should attempt to make it up. Know that stacking back to back (to back) days is what gets you injured, and so we try to avoid this scenario. Don’t save your off days for early or late in the week.
5. As runners, we have to be flexible with our training. That means that if Tuesday looks better than Wednesday (weather, scheduling, life-wise), we should probably try and do our hard workout that day. It doesn’t mean let’s put off our workouts to Friday and Saturday because we didn’t have time.
6. Distance runners aim to build a big base (run as much as possible without getting hurt) so that when you start doing workouts and faster paced runs, you have the foundation to build upon. Think of building a skyscraper with a weak foundation…what is likely to happen? It will tip over or crumble (you’ll be more susceptible to injury). So we aim to have a good foundation of easy runs and long runs to help support the faster workouts that are to come later in the training cycle.
7. Our bodies can adapt to a great amount of stress if we let it. We should aim to only increase one of three training variables at a time. When we stress more than one factor, we are more susceptible to injuries. However, we can trick our bodies into thinking we are just playing with one variable, when we can be altering two. The important key is to stay hydrated, get enough sleep and eat healthily. The 3 variables are intensity, density and volume.
Intensity – how fast our percieved effort is for a given run
Density – how soon you allow yourself to recover between your workouts.
Volume – how much mileage are you running per day? per week? per month?
Be sure to share this with new runners – it’s great advice that I’ve picked up on over the years!
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