Today I want to talk to you about how to improve your running, without training more.
What we're going to cover are the two biggest reasons why most runners never actually truly see the results they should be seeing because they're making one of these two mistakes.
When you look at it, most runners are doing enough training in terms of quantity, but for whatever reason, that's not reflected in the results they are seeing.
Reason number one is because yes, they're committing the time and the energy and working hard, but they're not doing the right types of sessions that match up to the goals they want to get to. So they might be working hard, but they're working hard, running in the wrong direction instead of pushing themselves towards where they truly want to be.
Now, the second reason someone may not be seeing the results they expect to see, is they might be doing the right types of training, they've got that covered, but they're getting the scheduling all wrong.
They're not doing that training in the right time. They're not using that opportune moment.
Planning the right type and mix of training is just half the battle. The other half is when you actually decide to do it.
I could give 100 people the same training plan in terms of content, but schedule it a hundred different ways, and I'm going to get a hundred different sets of results from all of those runners. So scheduling is hugely important and massively overlooked by most people.
Starting with the first reason, making sure you're doing the right types of sessions. What I do for all of my runners is I categorize each of their days into one of three categories.
It's going to be either a low intensity, medium intensity or high intensity day. I'll break those down, so you have an idea of which runs and which sessions fall into each one.
Low intensity work is any form of training, running, cross training that puts a minimal or a very low amount of load on your body.
Effectively, it causes almost zero damage to your body. It allows you to build your injury, resistance, your endurance. And importantly, it doesn't disrupt any growth or recovery, that your body may be undergoing from any tougher sessions you've done in the past.
High intensity training on the other hand, is any training that forces your body to perform beyond what it's capable of for only short periods of time. So you're pushing yourself outside that realm of comfort, you're causing a whole lot of damage. But because of that, you're forcing your body to grow. You're training at a level above where you're currently at, but for a short amount of time.
The downside of high intensity training though, is it takes a lot out of your body because it's causing a lot of damage. So you have to be very specific about when you do this training to make sure your body can't just recover, but that it's also going to come back and grow even stronger than it was before.
The final type of training is medium intensity. This is effectively you showing what you've got right now.
It's too hard that you're not getting any of those recovery benefits from low intensity we spoke about, but it's not quite hard or challenging enough that it's really forcing you to grow because it's you effectively showing what you're capable of doing at any given moment.
Don't get me wrong, though, it is hard and tiring, it does wear you down, but you're not going to see many improvements from doing your training in this medium intensity zone.
Where most runners go wrong is that most of their training falls exactly into that medium intensity zone.
They do their slow runs too fast, their fast runs too slow, it all just gets squashed in the middle. They're just wearing themselves out effectively, which is why they very rarely make big leaps forwards or they're just not consistently improving. They plateau, they stay the same.
What I challenge you to do is have a look at your training from any typical week and see which categories your sessions fall into, how many easy days or low intensity days you have a week, how many medium intensity and how many high intensity.
Because if the split is not correct, and it's going to be different for each person based on their goals, you're going to struggle to ever see the level of results you should be seeing.
Now, for most people, I am generalizing here, but for most people, if you want to run faster, further and get fitter, a split of around 20-30% high intensity and 70-80% low intensity will hit the mark. Notice, there's nothing in the middle because it's not really going to benefit most people in most scenarios.
So have a look at how your training falls into those splits and see if you're matching up or if potentially you could be suffering because you're not quite doing the right types of sessions.
One thing to be aware of, is just because someone tells you to go for a slow run, let's say, or a long run or recovery run, it doesn't necessarily mean that's going to fall into the low-intensity session. If you're running at the wrong pace for that run, it doesn't matter.
It all comes down to you and the way you approach the sessions rather than saying, oh, hill-sprints must be high intensity. I can get someone to run hill sprints in medium intensity and they're not going to benefit from it. You have to make sure you're hitting the sessions at the right intensity for your goal and what you want to then improve on.
To bring things together, the chances are if you're not making big improvements consistently with your running, it's because you're not either doing the right mix of training, or you might be doing the right sessions, but you're not scheduling them right amongst each other to allow your body not just to recover, but come back and grow from any work you're doing.
So I hope that was useful, and that it prompts you to do the work and have a look into your training and see areas where you could potentially be improving.
Now, the way I see it, if you're already investing the time, you're already investing the energy into your training, you may as well make sure you're getting the biggest results out of the other side of that.
Otherwise, what's the point?
So I'm going to leave you with that. Any questions or comments add them down below? And I'll do my best to get back to you.
Catch up soon.