Searching for proven and effective ways to a healthy running career is a great idea! In fact thats the best action you need to do as a recreational runner. I am going to share these basic tips you might be familliar with and how it can work for you.
But first let me get this straight, I am no running guru or sports doctor or an astronaut. So if you have a good background in athletics then mark this as spam – but not all of my post, just this one I guess. Unless if you are like me, self-training and gaining knowledge from research then do yourself a favor and check what I found out.
PRINCIPLES AND NOT TECHNIQUES
Back in August, a friend of mine visited me in my workplace bragging about his martial arts skills. His enthusiam got me interested to take time understanding Wing Chun (oh yes karate chops you name it! Lol!) and learned that the art is based not on techniques but on basic principles you get to be good at as you grow old.
Dude, what’s it got to do with running?
Well often times you and I see posts from pros and coaches suggesting ways to improve stride lenght and rate, breathing, arm swing, knee lift, pawback, posture and a bunch of other biomechanical time consuming elite training stuff! Techniques that teach us mortal athletes methods in terms of injury prevention and running economy then trying to squeeze it in our precious 30 minute morning runs.
And I started to think – there must be a common ground for recreational and professional runners as a foundation for improving overall fitness safer as we go through age. What I learned from reading articles, online publications, famous coaches on the internet and personal stories is consistency and adaptation. All very well fall into these 3 easy to learn running principles.
1. THE BASE PHASE
Coach Jeff Gaudette shared his article about the legendary Arthur Lydiard of New Zealand, who popularized the method of gradually increasing the weekly mileage runs of his athletes that produced 6 medals on the 1960 and 1964 Olympics. Greg Mcmillan further emphasized the importance of base building by implying that you need at least 12 weeks of it before doing speed and stamina workouts. He also added that you would still be well off in races even if you’re only doing base buildup.
How will it work for you?
Simple. It will make your body slowly adapt to running stress and most likely stay a healthy athlete. At the same time preventing us coachless runners from doing too much, too soon and too fast. Ease your weekly distance buildup by not more than 10% with an effort where you and your buddies can easily talk celebrity gossip. But be realistic in increasing mileage – do up to how much your daily schedule allows you to run. Forget 100 miles if you have commitments on your day job, baby sit, take care of the lawn or washing dirty clothes. Like my friend Kinny Jun who in his entire running career, never had setbacks because of his consistency in following the base building principle.
2. HARD /EASY SCHEDULE
Let me tell you something about Dennis Scott, a senior runner whose got quite of a background in track and cross country races including half marathons.
He well qualified for the Milo national championship race and this is what I learned. One day he posted an update on his Facebook page about the easy run he just did. The next day we got to meet each other after a morning workout and asked to take a look at his fast 5km time trial ( he uses his cellphone as a stopwatch ) which was pretty impressive! Then it hit me. Dennis perfoms well in races and I dont see him doing intervals but only evey other day!
The hard/easy principle is explained by excersice physiologist Pete Pfitzinger and Scott Douglas on their book “Advanced Marathoning”. Your body will benefit greatly with this because it allows you to recover from yesterdays run. Making you stronger and more resistant to illness, fatigue and from delayed onset muscle soreness.
Related Post: Workout and Recovery Process by coach Jeff Gaudette
Who doesnt want that? I certainly do want it! Before I even came across this idea I was unknowingly practicing under the running principle to chip in my 1:46 half marathon PR . And I bet you can benefit from it too!
It is basically self explainatory in nature. After building up your base, do a day of faster than normal pace workout then followed by a day of recovery run, cross training or a complete rest.
But how do you pick an easy day and a hard day? Read further and I’ll give you an interesting suggestion.
3. THE 80/20 RULE
Otherwise known as the Pareto principle. To give you a good idea on its running application, coach Matt Fitzgerald posted an article about a study data in 2001 that reveals Portugese and French elite do 78% of total mileage at low intensity. Two years later it was found out that Kenyan elites do 85% of their mileage below lactate threshold ( it means easy run to them experts lol!). US Olympic trial athletes at 75% a year later and last 2012 where 3 Canadians, in a long term study, showed near 74% of their training volume at an easy pace.
That one was made on elite level runners but here’s one from the same article that can relate to you looking for proof of a realistic goal.
Stephen Seiler and Jonathan Esteve-Lanao conducted research and discovered that recreational runners doubled their 10km time doing the 80/20 rule compared to doing 50/50 intensity ratio. Why? Because the runners are more rested, healthy and less fatigued.
I tried it myself and it worked. And I am positive it can work for you.
Here is how I simply break it down and pick the easy and hard days of my schedule. This week I tracked six days that add up to 52 kilometers. Twenty percent of that is 10.4 kilometers. Then I divide it into 3 days which converts into 3.4 kilometers of faster than easy effort.
Run daily, healthy.