Consistency + Time = Success with Running
Now. Immediately. As soon as possible. That is the time frame we want things in today’s world. And most times it is possible through Instagram, overnight shipping from Amazon or Uber Eats.
The one place where instant is not possible is distance running. When it comes to distance running, my favorite word is Consistency. My college coach used to say that you had to ‘Live the Lifestyle’ when it came to running. A huge part of that lifestyle is being consistent in your pursuit, and having a plan like approach to your training periodization. Consistency allows you to build an aerobic base, build minutes/miles, and mentally become stronger. What was once tough a month ago could be old hat with consistent training. A pace that used to be taxing can become controlled, a course that was at one time too hilly can now become your new workout loop.
Here is an example everyone can relate to: When we were young and learned how to ride a bike, it was very challenging…the pedaling and balance combined with keeping your eyes up and knowing when to brake. After a few months of consistent riding we were pulling wheelies, riding off curbs…all of the sudden not thinking about the things that once scared and challenged us. The same goes for running, with consistentcy you can take steps to where the parts of running that once scared you are non-existent. Now keep in mind, if you became a grown up and took significant time off of the bike, it takes a long time to come back. The same thing goes for running, time off in short spurts can be your friend, but significant time can present a huge issue.
In closing, have the honest conversation with yourself and find out what your personal consistency is. If that means it is 3 times of running per week or 7 days per week with 3 days of double runs, find it and stick to it. Once that becomes your new norm, build off it and take yourself and your running to the next level!
Surviving Our Summer (Think SOS – Shorten or Slow Down!)
I love summer running. The increased daylight, clear roads and no worry of ice and snow! I do not have to layer clothes and there is no concern of frostbite. But there is a cost – heat and humidity. We can only remove so much clothing! Fluid loss, dehydration, and heat-related illnesses are a real concern.
Set yourself up for success BEFORE you run.
- HYDRATE constantly. This does not mean chug a glass of water right before you run. It means staying hydrated throughout the day. Watch alcohol and caffeine and consider drinking a sports drink with electrolytes.
- Have access to water during your run. This means to either carry water or make sure you have access to water on your route. When it is sunny and above 75 degrees, I carry water, even for short runs.
- Run early or later in the day. Adapt and adjust your schedule.
- I know some people are not a fan but hit the treadmill. Most people use them in the winter to avoid icy roads, but they forget that it can be a safer summer option.
- Hit the shade. I know some routes that are mostly shaded and this can make a difference. Many rail trails have large shaded portions.
- Hit the trails! I am a road runner, but I have found solace this summer running on the trails. The trees provide protection and relief.
Want to have successful training during these conditions – Remember to SOS – Shorten Or Slow Down! Or perhaps both! What does this mean?
Shorten your run. If you normally run 5 miles in the morning, reduce it to 4 miles. I advise the athletes I coach to think in minutes. If your 5 mile easy run takes you 45 minutes, then run for 45 minutes NOT worrying about the distance covered. This may mean you get in 4.5 miles.
Slow down your run. It is so important especially on easy days to run by effort. Do not be afraid to slow down. Have the confidence in your running to not judge your ability by your pace. My normal easy run pace is around 8:00. The other day I went for a run, and it was 8:40. Give yourself permission to slow down! By the way, I find running on trails helps me to slow down. I know the GPS is not as accurate, and the varied terrain also impacts pace. I find myself able to relax and enjoy my runs on trails, even the hot ones!
What if you have a speed workout? There are times when you need to hit your goal paces. It is fine to adjust workouts as well so you come away feeling successful. There are a number of ways to adjust workouts as well, without slowing down your goal pace. One option is to decrease the number of repetitions. If the workout calls for 6 x 800 meters, adjust it to 4 or 5 repetitions. Another option is to walk the recovery or increase the recovery time. If the 6 x 800 meters had a 2:00 minute rest, consider increasing the time to 3:00 minutes.
Want to learn more? Read this article from Runners Connect: https://runnersconnect.net/dew-point-effect-running/
I use these tables to help advise my athletes in the summer.