I recently completed the RRCA coaching course and passed my certification exam. After ten years of running and racing, many years of working with coaches, reading books, magazines and learning from my own personal experiences the RRCA course wrapped it all up for me with a dose of science and expertise from the instructors.
While there is not one single training method, magic-bullet workout or training plan that will make you a better runner (because there are many ways to success) there are certain training truths that every runner needs to know to be successful and injury free!
1. Always train to your current fitness levels, not your desired fitness levels. Your goals should progress you forward slowly over time. Dream big, start small, then connect the dots. Decide on your goal. Is it a pace goal or a milage goal? Plan training to achieve your goal over time, then put in the work. Need guidance? I'm here to help!
2. Break training into phases. Start with a base phase of at least three weeks of building milage. These should be conversational pace miles that get your body accustomed to time on your feet. Even experienced runners will benefit from a period of building base milage. Then move to a strength phase that includes hills, tempo runs and Fartleks. Finally move into a final phase of speed and interval work. Each phase should last 3-6 weeks depending on your personal goals and race goal date.
3. Follow the 10% rule. Increase your milage by about 10% a week. Any more than 10% and you could risk injury.
4. Within a week increase milage or increase intensity (speed, hills, etc.) but increasing both in the same week could lead to injury.
5. Limit 'effort' sessions (speed work, hills, intense cross training) to 2-4 days a week. You don't need to kill yourself at every workout. Your body needs recovery time. Allow yourself a conversation pace recovery run after a difficult effort season. More is not always better.
6. Consistency is more important than heroic effort. It's the work that you put in day in and day out that will pay off on race day.
7. Your body adapts to the stresses placed upon it. To improve you must add additional stresses over time. Change the variables: distance, duration, speed or recovery time every 3-6 weeks to progress.
8. Every workout should consist of a warm up, the workout session and a cool down (stretching).
9. Your long run should be 25% of your total weekly miles. If you run 25 miles a week your long run should be about 6 miles. If you run 40 miles a week your long run should be around 10 miles.
10. Remember, this is fun! Never lose the joy of running. Take rest days or weeks as need to stay happy and healthy.
Any questions? I'm happy to help!
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