Five Basic Running Tips
Get Back to Basics with These Five Universal Truths
These running tips should help you get back to the basics.
You think 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.
Sometimes it is good to go back to basics.
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 who wants to improve themselves or simply to stay healthy and active.
These five running tips will help your running. They will help you to stay away from injuries and consistently improve your performance.
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 or more.
What kills progress is inconsistency. Running three times one week, then not at all the next two, then pick it up again? You will not see much progress.
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, family, running, maintaining a social life, a 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 your 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.
Read more about increasing mileage safely here.
Running Tip #4: We're All an Experiment of OneI 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.
Often we can influence that. Through consistent training, through slowly building up mileage and through strength training.
Have you been doing high-mileage weeks and feeling like you are getting slower or injured? Maybe take it down a notch for now. It might well be that you have hit a ceiling on your current running and need some more strength work to progress further. 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 does not.
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 pace. 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 same results.
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 minutes.
Change that to doing a 90 minute long run, 50 minute quality session such as a tempo run or intervals, and a number of easy 30 minute sessions and you'd spend the same time exercising on a weekly basis, but would be more likely to become faster.
Running Tip #5: Realize that Getting Better Gets Harder
First you 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 you plateau.
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?
There are many different reasons. If you are stuck, sometimes it is useful to get the support of a coach. They can help you work out what your next goal should be and how to get there.
If that is something you might be interested in, check out my coaching service for further information.
I hope this article helps you focus on the important parts of your running training.
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!
But in the end, if you are using a simple, consistent running training program, you allow results to happen over time and you make sure you includes hard/easy days and do quality workouts then chances are that you are doing a lot right already!
Beginner Running Tips
Are you a beginning runner? Then this is your best starting point. Many tips and running programs on offer, dedicated to you.
Running for Weight Loss
Aiming to lose a few pounds? Get into the Running for Weight Loss section for tips and advice.
The Running Training section of the site has got the most articles. It is constantly getting updated with new tips and information. A must-visit if you are serious about improving your running performance.
5k Running Tips
The 5k is a great distance to run and train for. The great thing is that you can do it quite often and see big improvements.
10k Running Tips
The 10k is a real challenge. You need to run fast for an uncomfortably long time! Check out this section if you are strong of mind and legs!
Marathon Running Tips
The marathon is a massive challenge. Proper training is so important! Make sure to check out this section if you have got your mind set on the marathon!