5 Important Training Tips
We know that injuries that result in significant time off running are a runners worst enemy, while consistency is their best friend! These 5 important training tips will help you become a more consistent runner and therefore make it so much easier for you to achieve your running goals!
1. THE 12 HOUR RULE
Any run or session can be moved by a maximum of 12 hours. For example if you normally run Tuesday morning and for some reason you can’t do it, you could move your run to either Monday afternoon or Tuesday afternoon.
This means if you miss a session/run, and can’t make it up using the 12 hour rule then that run is gone – it should not be made up later in the week. Making this a rule will increase your accountability. The danger of making up sessions is that by the end of the week you may be left with the majority of your runs/kms to complete. This will leave insufficient time for recovery and you will fall in an acute state of over training, which increases your likelihood of injury.
2. THE 80% RULE
Most runners think they have to complete every run every week in order to achieve their goal. This is far from correct – if over a 12 week training period you consistently complete at least 80% of your programmed runs, then you’ll be ready to go. Additionally runners will focus on the repetition or the run that was below their usual training standards. e.g. Four out of five of the1km repeats were right on target pace but number five was a fraction slow. Most runners will focus on the one slow 1km. Instead they should focus on the 80% of the session that was completed perfectly.
Runners want to run. There is a big difference between “missing” and “skipping” a run. If you have missed a run, it is normally because something stressful has taken its place. These are typically family and work commitments which are often unavoidable. Since something stressful has taken the place of the run, the last thing you need to do is put more stress on your system and flog the proverbial horse by training. The key message is stick to the program, but if you miss a run, it’s gone and you’ll feel much better on your next run.
3. WARM UP & COOL DOWN
A warm up should be included before every run. This could be as simple as a period of very easy running prior to any effort. The warm up is especially important if you’re running either first thing in the morning or later in the day. This is because you have likely just spent up to the last 8 hours being sedentary, either sleeping overnight or sitting at work all day.
The purpose of the cool down is to return the body back to a resting state and to facilitate recovery. The cool down needs to be easy and the best way to ensure that is to complete it as a walk. A simple tip is to finish your run 500m from where you started and then walk the rest of the way. This also gives you the chance to reflect on the run and without even trying, you have walked 500m, and have completed your cool down.
Warming up and cooling down do not need to be highly structured nor time consuming – they just need to be done. Make them a part of your routine and experience how much easier running feels, and how much better you feel the next day.
4. LESS IS MORE
Especially important for new runners or runners returning after some down time. Training is a very gradual process, especially if we want to avoid injury. If you are new to running or have had some time off, than each individual run should be relatively easy. You should always ask yourself one simple question, “how much did I run last week?”, if the answer is zero than anything that you do this week will be a major improvement/increase! At the start the best thing you can do is train yourself to be able to train, which means focusing on getting into a routine and not worrying about results just yet.
We all know that one run will not make you, but one run done too hard or too long could certainly break you! The big thing to remember is that less is more and that consistency is king! You are much better off in the long term to slow down or miss the last repetition if your body is screaming at you. If you do this then you’ll be ready and able to do your next run and the one after that and so on…
5. RECOVERY IS KEY
Most runners think that they become better runners while they are running, this is partially correct in the sense that you do have to train/run if you want to see an improvement in running. However the adaptations that take place in our bodies that make us better able to run, actually occur while we are recovering between runs. This means that insufficient recovery between runs actually means insufficient time for your body to adapt and improve. The best guide to ensure that you are getting enough recovery between runs is one run should not impact your ability to do the next. If you find that you are still significantly fatigued from your previous run, than chances are you have not given yourself sufficient time to recover.
Many runners train really hard and never see much improvement or the full benefits of their training. This is because they are over training, and because they are lacking opportunities for their bodies to recover they are lacking the opportunity for their bodies to adapt and therefore improve. Rest days and recovery runs/easy walks will be your best friend when it comes to giving your body the recovery it needs between runs.
Running is a long term game. You want to make decisions today that will benefit you tomorrow. If you’re ever in doubt, do less; that way you have the opportunity to do more tomorrow. Hopefully these 5 training tips will help you train a little smarter, and bring you one step closer to achieving your running goals.
Article written by Blayne Arnold.
Blayne is Head Coach at Be A Runner. For more information about Be A Runner visit our home page www.bearunner.org