Sticking to it is one of the simplest and yet most difficult running rule to live by. We lose fitness faster than we gain it. A complete break from running is only advisable for a week or two after an endurance race such as a marathon, or at the end of a season. During this period of no running, easy cross training will not only preserve fitness but speed recovery.
Articulating a “purpose” other than performance
Prioritising and appreciating the many benefits outside of performance goals is likely to keep you running into old age. When your exclusive running goal is performance, things can break down and the chances of burnout (physical and mental) can be high. Temper performance goals with any number of the additional running benefits of running such as the social aspects it provides which can certainly feed your spirit.
Variety in gradient and surface
You are more likely to get a repetitive and overuse injury running only on flat pavement as each stride will be identical to the last. Running on uneven, hilly terrain and different surfaces mixes up the forces and load with each stride reducing your risk of injury. Don’t just run the same routes every day. Seek out new neighbourhoods and trails and explore this great city at our doorstep. Adding a strength training session can also help reduce injury and add variety to your training stimulus.
Working the margins
This is the principle of 80/20 running. Doing a quality workout where we rev our engines, – and it doesn’t have to be running – slows the decline in our VO2 max as we age. And the volume of quality does not need to onerous, a short session once a week is all we need. Long slow easy running is the other component to performance running. Our soft tissues become most strong and injury resistant with frequent stimulus and you should plan to run 4 or more times a week. Working the margins, hard and easy, (and avoid always working in the middle ground which raises the load and risk of injury). “If you are not training easily enough on the easy days, you will not be able to train hard enough on the hard days”.
Recovery and sleep
Turn in a little earlier. Steer clear of screens right before bed. Keep your bedroom cool. Put aside a few minutes each day for some light stretching, rolling and self-massage. A well-rested runner is a fast runner.