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Running Tips - Get Back to Basics with These Five Universal Truths
These running tips should help you get back to the basics.
Reading about running training can be quite confusing.
You need to learn about your VO2max, the difference between tempo
running, interval running and repetitions, foot types you did not even
know you had, etc.
We are all an experiment of one.
We can't all run the same distances.
Some runners can't do more than 30-50 miles without getting injured.
Some can do over 100 miles.
We must all
learn to listen to our body.
This also means not always following the pre-cut running training
programs you find all over the internet, including on this website.
However, there are some basic things that apply to pretty much every
runner. Whether you are competing for the prizes or a simple, like me,
middle-of-the pack or back-of-the-pack runner. These five running tips will help
your running. They will help you to stay away from
injuries and consistently improve your performance.
Change between hard and easy.
Consistency is one key...
... Patience is the other.
We're all an experiment of one.
Realize that getting better gets harder.
Running Tip #1: Change
Between Hard and Easy
Running hard one day after the other will soon get you exhausted
and not being able to run anymore at all. Having an easy day the next day
is as important as running hard today. On your easy days,
your body "repairs" itself, literally in the case of muscle fibers,
building new blood cells etc.
Run hard every day and your body will not be able to repair itself,
causing it to break down eventually.
So, value your easy days as much as your hard days.
Does an easy day need to be a rest day?
No, although for beginning runners it usually is. An easy day needs to
be a day in which you take your mileage and your speed down. So an easy, short run could count
as an easy day.
For both beginners and more advanced runners, a lot is to be said for
doing some cross
training instead. It will give your running muscles
and your joints and ligaments a bit of rest.
Running Tip #2: Consistency
is One Key...
You will not achieve your best running if you do not run consistently.
Try as much as possible to keep to a minimum number of running days per
week, preferrably three
Training consistently every day for two or three weeks in a row, only
to burn out and not run for the next three months is not going to help
your running much.
Try to keep to a running program that you can handle, physically and
mentally. I, as I am sure you do as well, have a busy life. Demanding
job, wife, kids, website to maintain... it all takes time.
But there is a contract I have made with myself. No matter what, I will run at
least three times a week. Each week I will block out time
in my agenda for my runs and I will go out of my way to make at least
those three times happen. Often I will be able to do more, but three is
the minimum I do.
We all have time to take showers, brush our teeth and eat. Of course
you say, that's just part of everyday life. Well, just treat
running as part of everyday life as well... :)
Running Tip #3: ... Patience
is the Other
Results do not come overnight. You need to have patience with yourself.
So do not expect wonders after two weeks of running training, your
improvements will come but they require time.
You also need to be patient with respect to building up the mileage;
make sure you listen to your body and do not just pile up the miles. If
you do that you are bound to get injured. Your body needs time to
adjust to changes in workload.
more about increasing mileage safely here.
Running Tip #4: We're All an
Experiment of One
I mentioned in the beginning of this article that different runners can
handle different training workload. One can handle 20-30 miles, another
can do 100 miles per week.
Each and every runner is different as to what they can handle.
You might find for yourself that adding miles to your training is not
the answer, but that you need to keep your mileage at a certain level
and to add in a day of rest/cross-training to get optimal results.
Have you been doing high-mileage weeks and feeling like you are getting
slower? Maybe take it
down a notch and see what happens to your race times.
Maybe the answer is not in more mileage, but in extra tempo sessions
and/or speedwork. You need to find out for yourself what works and what
A mistake I see often made is that people run, say, five times a week.
Every time they go out they run about 30-45 minutes at a fairly hard
They are training hard, but not improving.
They don't have a hard/easy schedule, but a moderate/moderate
schedule as I like to call it. This causes too little stimulation. When
your training is always the same, after a while, you'll just get the
The key is often to put in some good quality runs. What are quality
workouts? They are workouts like long runs, tempo
runs or intervals.
When you run 5 x 45 minutes the total exercise time in a week is 225
that to doing a 90 minute long run, 50 minute tempo run, 30 minute
interval session and a few 25-30 minute recovery runs and
spend the same time exercising on a weekly basis, but would be more
likely to become faster.
Try it out sometime... :)
Running Tip #5: Realize that
Getting Better Gets Harder
from a zero base you will be pleasantly surprised that within
a matter of weeks you can make impressive fitness gains.
could not run a mile.
A few weeks later you do two without stopping.
You are able to do races.
And regularly break some personal records.
However when you have been running for a longer period, your progress
may stagnate for a while.
You may not run personal records anymore.
That's the point where you have reached that level of fitness at which
After that you need to run
much smarter to get better
results. The key here is to recognise these moments and consider what
you could do differently in your training to help yourself become even
a faster runner.
Again, quality workouts
like the ones mentioned above will help.
Once you have hit a plateau, more mileage is not always the answer.
Maybe you need to spice it up and try a few different workouts? Check out some links at the
bottom of this page for ideas. Maybe you need to focus on
shorter races for a while? Or on longer ones?
I hope this article helps you focus on the important parts of your
You can say an incredible lot about running. I'd say this website is a
testament to that... :)
I'd never expected it to become this size!
in the end, if you are using a simple, consistent running training
program, you allow results to happen over time and you make sure
hard/easy days and do quality workouts then chances are that you are
doing a lot right already!
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