Often when we start out on a running mission, we tend to fall into two groups, one that loves to try and sprint around everywhere, constantly, no matter the distance. Then, there is the other group that thinks if they go out for a run they should simply expect to improve, no matter the effort they put in, just as long as they plod on.
"Firstly, the fact you are moving and heading out for a
run is great, well done, your body will be thanking you!"
At Friday Night Track Club, our coached running session in Solihull, we get asked about this all of the time, so we've decided throughout the summer of 2018 we are going to try and explain this concept as simply as possible and educate you on different methods you can try to improve your fitness!
To wet your appetite, we're going to give you a small introduction before covering more topics in the coming months!
Why can't I just run as hard as possible for as long as possible?
The truthful answer is that every now and again there is the odd person that can do this however, for the remaining 99% of people this will result in re-occurring minor injuries, a major injury, illness, de-motivation and a dramatic increase in CNS (central nervous system) fatigue that will eventually prevent the individual from improving or furthering their running. This is very often witnessed by New Year Years Resolutioners who only managed to sustain this level of effort for 1 or 2 months before breaking down and giving up because of the lack of energy and injuries like shin splints and muscular strains.
Why can't I plod along then?
As with all (probably most) things in life, the only way to progress and improve is to challenge yourself in some manner. This may be in the form of speed, distance, gradient, technical improvements such as knee lift or foot landing or from pace 'play' (intervals). Therefore, stress some element of your body and there will be a response to improve and cope, this also applies to bones as well as muscles, tendons and the cardio-respiratory system.
As a result, plodding along doesn't necessarily mean you are stressing any particular element of the body. It can however mean that you are maintaining fitness if your efforts subconsciously cover greater distances or you slightly increase your speed or increase the volume of your runs. In general however, the only part that will continue to improve will be your skeletal system that will thank you particular as you get older and your bones need the impact to stress. This is of particular importance when considering osteo-arthritis but that's a whole different BLOG! More Stress!
We are always trying to avoid stress in life and I don't necessarily disagree with that but as I mentioned above, there are ways we should embrace it and benefit from it!
Your training runs should always consist of at least three of these components.
Workload - how much are you going to endure
Intensity - the speed of your runs
Recovery - how many minutes are you going to recover after each repetition?
Frequency - how often are you going to run
Don't try to change more than one of these variables each week, not only could that be too demanding but it would likely effect your progression to a goal (running faster vs running further) but it could also make it more difficult to analyse your runs.
Running improvements happen quite rapidly, in particular for the novice runner who will notice significant benefits in just 4 weeks, whilst as time goes on and your fitness improves the less it will improve with each training week. This is when CONSISTENCY is of great importance!
Over the next few months we will offer you some methods to improve your training so you can develop your speed, your health or your endurance capabilities!
In the meantime make sure you are following us on Facebook and Instagram.