"My Number One Tip For Runners"
After years of chatting with all the coaches, I have started to realize each has their own mannerisms, sayings, and expressions (anyone who has spent time with Jake has heard "You ready to rock and roll" at least five times).
Curious to see if this translated to their coaching strategies, I asked each coach..."What's your number one tip for runners?" Here is what they had to say...
"Rest is part of the training process"
Training doesn't mean you have to be grinding every single workout every single day. The body needs to be broken down to come back stronger. If we are constantly breaking it down without giving it a chance to recover, we can end up with injuries or burnout.
A simple formula is Stress + Rest = Growth. Make the hard days hard and take the easy days easy!
"Speed training IS ultra training"
When you're training for an ultramarathon, it can be confusing when a coach prescribes track repeats, or short intervals. If you're running 100 miles and won't be running faster than 10:00/mile throughout the entire race, why in the world would you have to run 400 meters in under 90 seconds?!
By training your body for speed, you're ultimately teaching yourself how to become more efficient every step. By using less energy with each stride, you'll be able to go farther, faster. It is true that the bulk of your training for an ultra should center around distance and being able to physically cover the mileage necessary to complete the race, but speed training will make it easier for you to accomplish this while taking less of a toll on your body, if mixed in properly with the rest of your training cycle. So get out, tough out those repeats and remember that running fast equals running far!
"Keep the body guessing"
Variety is one of the most important aspects of a good training plan. The more you can challenge the body with different types of workouts and movements the better your body will be at adapting to various challenges.In order for the body to continue to adapt it needs new forms of training stimulus. This can be done through intervals, hill work, and tempo workouts. The key is to consistently challenge different systems to keep them all working effectively.
This concept is also important for preventing injuries. Injuries usually happen due to abnormal strain from various compensations and weaknesses. Incorporating a variety of strength and mobility exercises into your routine will help keep your muscles mobile and strong.
"Trust the process"
In today's society everyone wants instant gratification and instant results. To be successful at running one needs to be willing to stay patient. Improvement comes from consistently putting in the work month after month for the delayed gratification come race day. This can make it tough to stay motivated day in and day out, but changing one's mindset from result orientated to process orientated can lead to greater satisfaction and greater improvement long term. To stay committed to the process you need to have a good line of communication with your coach. As a team, the two of you can develop a plan that works best for you to reach your goals. Remember that running is a patient game and if you are able to find enjoyment in your running journey you can greatly exceed your goals.
"Consistency is key"
Successful running is relatively simple: stay consistent - with your health, workouts, sleep, and nutrition. If you're able to avoid any interruptions in these areas, you WILL see success. All of these areas share a degree of interconnectedness, so it isn't enough to pursue consistency in any one of these areas, all are necessary in order to reach your running goals.
"Food is fuel and food is your friend, don't let anyone tell you otherwise"
Underfueling in day to day life, in training, and in racing is extremely common. During training you are breaking your body down with each workout. That is how we improve, right? What most people forget is that we can’t rebuild without taking in the nutrients our body needs to do so. In order to put full effort into each workout, and get better, faster, stronger you must eat enough. You need protein to build and repair your muscles and tissues. You need fat to reduce inflammation, increase mental clarity, and provide a source of energy late in a run. You need carbohydrates for everything...the body runs (literally) off of them and they provide the energy your muscles require to move. So, do your mind and body a favor and ditch the idea of restriction. Instead, include plenty of all food groups in your daily routine and your body will thank you!
"Remember why you're doing it"
Everyone has a reason that they got into running. It may have been to get back into shape, or maybe you had success in it early on and wanted to be competitive. Regardless of how things started all runners share an inner drive to get out that door day after day and week after week. That process is truly what makes running great, and racing/events is just the cherry on top. However, throughout the journey there will be low points. It might be a poor performance, or maybe just feel stale with training. If things aren't going exactly how you had planned it can be easy to fall into a state of doubt. In those situations don't let that doubt win remember how great the process is and what motivates you each day to get outside and stay active.
And there you have it, 7 tips, 7 different coaches! What is your tip for new or experienced runners?