Home Running Tips Running Tip: Consistency

Running Tip: Consistency

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Rhythm… That repetitive action that causes us to bob our heads or tap our toes. It is the instinctual nature to continue moving forward that resonates into our life of running.

I am often asked how I was able to push through the tough times of running, back when it wasn’t ‘fun’. For so many people, the monotony and boredom is so overwhelming that they can’t stick with it. I often find myself telling people the key to running enjoyment and improved performance is Consistency.

Like a metronome, tick-tocking back and forth, improving our running isn’t about the repetitive one foot in front of the other, but more about one day after another; building consistency until it becomes a habit and second nature. There are three helpful concepts that you can use to help build consistency:

  • 1. Training plans – you can find these just about anywhere, from thousands of websites to just about any of the published magazines. They all have plans that can be, or already are tailored to help you reach your goals. It doesn’t matter if you want to run your first 5k or shoot for a new marathon personal record, there is a plan for you. Sticking to that plan allows you to know exactly what you need to do to build consistent workouts and form habits. While you may not always need a detailed training plan, they are amazing tools for developing runners and aspiring athletes targeting new goals.
  • 2. Motivation – we all need it, but often don’t know where to find it. A few tools that I have found helpful are running-related magazines, interesting websites, running location, and running partners. Motivation is a topic of its own and will be addressed in detail in a later post. The only thing I’ll add is that personally, my motivation comes from being able to run trails. I love being on dirt in the hills and mountains. It’s all I need to motivate me to get out there each day.
  • 3. Accountability – another topic that will be addressed in detail in its own post. Accountability is a brilliant principle that can motivate you to consistently train. A friend of mine who was attempting to lose weight and also train for a sprint triathlon, started posting his weight on the outside of his cubicle at work. Each week he would weigh himself and post his new weight in big block letters on the outside wall of his cubicle. Over 12 weeks the trend of papers grew, and dropped. This accountability forced him to maintain a high level of consistency and in that 12 weeks he lost over 50 lbs and was more than ready for his race. While this exact method doesn’t apply to everyone, being accountable by waking up early for a group run or tracking your workouts on a social-running related website can be invaluable to help you build consistency in your training.

Whether you implement one or all three of these principles, building consistency can help improve not only your ability to train, but your enjoyment of it. The satisfaction that comes from knowing you are meeting or exceeding your goals is the best motivator you have for success. So if you sitting there reading this and it’s been a few days since your last workout, get out there and go do it! You’ll be happier for it.

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6 COMMENTS

  1. How about variation? Repeatedly running the same course or the same distance or the same pace will beat down the most dedicated runner. Train for some 5K’s between marathons or add a triathlon to your summer goals.Things like this will keep you refreshed & consistently training.

    • Fantastic feedback Bob. I fully agree that adding in variation can really help build consistency and maintain motivation for longer by changing things up. Thanks again.

  2. I agree with the variation. When I leave the house for a run its all about the most random run I can think of. I take off in one direction and cut this way and that way to mix it up and make it fun. It keeps me alert and focused on the route more than the run itself. If you run properly based on your mechanics then it should be a joy every time you head out that door. You may want to find a couple of running partners whether you want to or not. It helps.

  3. While training plans can be found all over the internet and magazines, they are anything BUT tailored to an individual athlete, and most of the time, you get what you pay for. Depending on what you are already doing based on what you already know about your own weaknesses, strengths, and training principles, a generic training plan could actually cause you to lose fitness, not gain it. Apart from an experienced, quality coach that has the ability to teach proper mechanics, nutrition, evaluate weaknesses/strengths, and develop an effective training protocol, using a training plan found in a magazine is like calling up an out-of-state running shoe store and asking them to send you a random pair of shoes. What size? Width? Racing Flats or Trainers? Trail or Road? Support or neutral? Zero drop or 10mm drop? low or high arch? Altra or Nike? These questions must be answered for the shoes to fit and benefit you. Likewise, the training protocol must “fit” in order to benefit you.

  4. For accountability I post every run on Facebook and Twitter with distance and pace. Knowing that all my friends see my runs pushes me to get out there everyday and do a little better.

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