All great runners have a couple of things in common. And it is these things that are actually the secret ingredients to becoming a great runner. All great runners all have a routine that they stick to as consistently as possible. However, despite the rigidity, their routine is also lenient and flexible at the same time. These form the basis of the key principles to becoming a better and faster runner.
#1 Consistency Is Key
One run does not make a great runner, nor does one high mileage week. The real secret lies in consistency. It is week, after week of consistent running that makes a great runner. Mo Farah’s coach Alberto Salazar always stresses the importance of this. If you can run 4 times a week consistently, you gain more benefits than running every day this week, but only once the next, and 3 times the following week. Plan your training such that you are running consistently.
#2 Listen To Your Body
Always listen to your body. You don’t have to follow your training too rigidly. If you are feeling way too tired to hit the tracks, it is okay to skip a day and do a recovery run instead. The greatest runners are flexible with their training plan and they know when they need a break. This is to prevent the effects of overtraining which can lead to a plateau in progress and maybe even an injury.
Read More: 8 Signs Of Overtraining
#3 Take Easy Days, Easy
Recovery here actually means recovery! Just to give you a rough idea of what the recovery run means – the Kenyans know how to train hard, but also know how to recover well. They start off their recovery runs at a 6min/km pace and end at a 5min/km pace. Bear in mind this is given their 3.30min/km tempo run pace. This probably gives you a gauge on how slow a recovery run should be. Recovery runs may seem painstakingly slow, but that is the point of the run – to recover, not to make yourself more tired.
#4 Strength Train
We just love to run. However, running can cause imbalances in muscle development. Also, our ligaments and joints may not be strong enough to withstand the stress of constant running. Strengthening can help you in a number of ways. It can help stabilize your joints and strengthen your ligaments. For instance, someone with stronger tendons and ligaments may only get a roll on the ankle instead of a bad sprain. The best athletes do strength train – be it proper strengthening, or hill training.
Read More: 5 Excellent Fitness Exercises For Runners