If you ask runners how to truly improve and step up their running game, you will get a lot of different answers: nutrition, recovery, types of workouts, long runs etc.
However, I think the biggest factor in improving is running consistently. Running consistently allows your body to adapt and improve.
When I decided to jump back in to running full time, the biggest adjustment AND improvement came from running those “regular” runs (runs between workouts and long runs). My body needed less time to recover. When I ran 3-4 times a week, those runs really wore my body out and it took a couple days to recover. Now, workouts and long runs don’t fatigue me.
Over time running 5-6 (or even 7 for some people) days a week actually results in faster race times, fewer injuries, and more motivation.
Faster times: Over time, your body slowly transforms to handle faster speeds. How do you do this? Set goal paces for workouts and regular runs.
Fewer injuries: Your muscles and body adapt to the increased mileage. As you get stronger, injuries become less likely to occur. If you are running 10-15 miles a week, and one of those runs is a long run, you may struggle with injuries.
Motivation: Every run makes the next run more exciting. Don’t get me wrong, there are tough days but the little improvements every day make you want to improve even more.
Tips to becoming a more consistent runner:
· Progress slowly. If you have only been running 2-3 times a week don’t start running 7 days next week. Slowly increase your mileage. A good rule is not to increase by more than 10% per week.
· Find a running partner to keep you motivated. Groups are great for this! Even a long distance running pal can help keep you accountable and motivated.
· Don’t get discouraged! Improvements don’t happen overnight. Long term training takes time, be patient.
· If you can only run 3-4 times a week, cross train on the other days. This will really improve your strength and endurance. Find something you like and will enhance your running.
· Consider hiring a coach. This will hold you accountable and help you improve. Find a coach who you will work well with and be honest with.
Keep up the good work!
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