Small choices and Little steps lead to GIANT consequences over time.
Successful people take little steps each day, embracing the small windows of opportunity that are presented to them. They march towards their goals, one step at a time and the days become weeks, the weeks become months and the months become years. And before you know it they have reached a place called Extraordinary.
Your running could improve beyond recognition; it is about making small choices and taking little steps over time BUT it requires immense patience and belief in what you are going to do, or have signed up for! The problem in this modern world that we live in, is that we expect instant results and we think that by going faster, harder, longer & more often we can accelerate our improvement. Unfortunately the opposite is true, so set aside the instant gratification mindset and be prepared to build slowly.
When you start out, or get going after a break (Rest & Recovery) it is important to start with easy running. This is the tedious part of the programme, as you can’t see quickfire results, but this is about laying a foundation. It is about preparing the body (and the mind) for the base training; the long runs and quality sessions which will be added in months to come BUT first up you have to allow the body to adapt to the low intensity stress that any form of running will subject it to (even easy running).
I call this Training to Train (T2T)! IT entails many conversational type runs and just allowing the body to feel comfortable with running. In preparing for Ironman, our group would run a 20km run on a Tuesday at a comfortable/conversational pace, nothing hard just Time on Legs for 1hr40-50. For most folk training for Ironman (and it was for our group), this would be a key session in the months leading up to Ironman as we are often time limited in our build up.
Imagine if you decided you wanted to be a better runner and you started 8-10 months prior to your IM or 70.3 and one of the first things you worked on was ‘easy running’ and within 2 months you were running an easy 20km mid week run every fortnight? Picture the foundation you are building and what can be built upon that Foundation, it is actually quite mind blowing to say the least!
I have utilised an example of a 20km run, but don’t go leaping into 20k runs, as I could and perhaps should have utilised an example of a 5 or 10km run. It should not be taken out of context.
Another important thing to realise is that ‘stress’ occurs when we exercise and it is about the time spent doing, so I would rather advocate time as opposed to distance. The reason for that is that a top IM runner may take 80 minutes for 20km and another athlete may take 2 hours, same distance but more stress for the slower runner, assuming both are running at the same effort.
I would advocate 3-4 weeks of easy running, before moving on to a more focussed Base Training Phase, which will be discussed under Tip #3.