Life is like music; it must be composed by ear, feeling, and instinct, not by rule.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

No formula better than consistency

Each time I'm asked how to become a better runner, my first response is to "run every day or as much as possible."  Whether you run 10, 20 , 30, 40, 50, 60 or more miles per week, and you take 1 or more rest days, carve back the total mileage and reduce the rest days, even down to running 7 days a week if possible (that's what I've done as I run 7 days a week; about 50 miles per week).  It's the consistency that speeds up the muscle memory process .

If you think about, the great Kenyan runners start by running back and forth to school every day and after 5-6 years, they've not only established a solid base but they've mastered the mechanics and fundamentals of efficient running by doing it over and over and over and over.  You may need to work your way toward this goal but ultimately the concept of "we must have a rest day," is not based on science or fact but instead is based on tradition.  There's no reason we are not designed and equipped to run every single day.

However, the issue is controlling and managing 2 factors:  duration and intensity.  If you have the discipline to manage those factors, you should be able to run every day and not increase your chances of injury.  I have what I call a "rest day run," which is a day off and on that day I run for no longer than 30 minutes and a slow comfortable pace.  Some call this junk miles but I think that's completely wrong.  I get huge benefits from a 25-30 minute run.  First, it's just flat good for my heart, body and soul.  Second, it's just long enough for me to continue the hard coding process with respect to form and technique.  Third, it feels good mentally and physically and I believe it assists in the healing process without stressing the body.  Of course the trick is to practice "discipline," and not turn a easy run into either a longer run or higher intensity.

You may say, there's no difference between a 30 and 40 min. run.  Well, it's a huge difference . . . it's a 30% increase if you really look at it . . . that's not insignificant.  Practice discipline, control intensity and duration, and you'll be off to floating along every single day.

Happy trails.


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