Saturday, 1 October 2016

The Secret You've Been Looking For

This is a post for all you high school track and cross athletes looking to make the leap to the next level. This is a post for all you collegians at that level, shooting for the next step. This is a post for all you post-collegians eyeing the next Olympic Trials.

This is a post for all runners, of all ages and abilities, who want to PR, PB, BQ, OTQ, or any other acronym you can think of.

You want to get better? You can put away your training manual. Set aside the Hanson's program, or Pfitzinger, or Daniels or Higdon or Galloway or anyone else who writes a mass program. Most importantly, if you own Run Less, Run Faster: burn that crap.

There is only one Way. Here it is:

You need to run more.

How much more?

I don't know, but definitely more than you're doing now. Could be 30 miles a week. Could be 120. That part's up to you.

It can't be that simple, can it?

It is. For real. Running is a simple sport; stop trying to make it more complicated than it needs to be.

I suspect most of you already know this to some degree. Accept it. Internalize it. Running more is hard; it requires more time, more effort, more commitment. More patience. In an instant-gratification culture, it's appealing to look for the quick-fix, for the Secret that will make you much better without the inconvenience of all that extra effort.

Unfortunately, you can't succeed in long distance running with that attitude. You can't take a shortcut (legally) in a race, so you shouldn't be practicing that in training.

You don't need a specific magic bullet workout to push you over the edge. You do need a little bit of everything. Sometimes you need to practice running really fast. Sometimes you need to practice running really far. Usually you need to combine the two.

There are infinite ways to do that, so stop limiting yourself to prescribed workouts from a book. Hit the track. Find an open field. Escape to the trail. At its core, running should be fun; make it so.

But won't I race faster if focus my training on running shorter and harder?

You will. For a little bit, at least. But then, since you don't have enough foundation to support that speed, you'll plateau. Or worse, get injured. Or even worse, burn out and walk away from it all.

Look, I get it. League championship is in a couple weeks. Fall racing season is upon us. You want results yesterday. But running doesn't work that way. It's a sport of patience, of incremental gains, of long-term improvement. There is no get-rich-quick scheme in the running world.

Don't take my word for it, though. (And don't take physiologists' words, either). 50 years of international experience, from Lydiard to Salazar, has proven that the only Way is run more mileage. How you combine your efforts within those miles is secondary to that primary Truth.

If you only train short and fast, you'll never know how fast you really could be.

Won't I get injured running more?

You might. So? You're an athlete; athletes get injured on occasion. It's a natural consequence of pushing your body to its limits: sometimes you go beyond those limits, and sometimes that results in your body breaking.

Running more is, paradoxically, your best way to avoid injuries in the future. The more you do something, the better you'll get at it. The more you'll refine the muscle patterns that make a smooth, efficient stride. When you run more, it's like being constantly warmed-up: you roll out the door and things just feel natural. When you run less, you're moving a cold body, and cold muscles are more at risk of breaking.

Running more than you have in the past? Slow down, then. It should be easy. Heck,most of your running should be easy. Now, what feels easy will vary day-by-day, and that's perfectly okay. Don't be run by the Garmin...the most accurate feedback you can get is not numbers on a watch face, but rather what your own body is telling you. Listen to it.

I just don't have the time, though...

Yeah, you do. You're reading this blog, aren't you? Close it down. Go run.

Run doubles. Wake up 30 minutes earlier and get it done. Run again in the afternoon or evening. Maybe a little shorter than you normally would with one run. The more often you run, the better you will get at running. It's not rocket science.

Look, if you really want to get better, then you have to make some sacrifices. If that's not worth your time, fine. Do what makes you happy. Just don't complain about your lack of results when you aren't willing to commit. You have to decide how you prioritize your time; no one else can do that for you.

Besides, running is fun. It's energizing. Usually, you should feel good after you run. It stands to reason that more of it should be more fun.

I just looked at the weather radar and it looks pretty bad out there.

Tough luck. One of these days, it's going to be pretty nasty on race day. It will be snowing and windy and bone-chillingly freezing. It will be gale force winds in a torrential downpour. It will be so hot and humid that you break out into a sweat just standing there. And when that day comes, you better be ready for it.

Stop making excuses. Think about all those other people on their nice comfortable couches, sipping on their hot chocolate/lemonade/cold beer. Be better than those people. They're the ones who are going to make excuses come race day. They're never really be able to suffer in races because they never embrace suffering in training. Don't be that person.

Ok now stop reading this post. Lace up your shoes and get out the door. I don't care what time it is.

Source article: The Secret You've Been Looking For

No comments:

Post a Comment