In my earlier posts in 2007, I mentioned about the writings of Dr George Sheehan whom I consider as the Philosopher of Running in the Modern Times. As a tribute to this old runner and prolific writer, I always mention his tips and suggestions to runners whenever I conduct lectures and running clinics to “newbies” in the sports of endurance running. Up to this day, his “tips and suggestions” are still valid which are basically explanation of the basic principles in training for runners.
I also mentioned in my previous posts of my 100% acceptance on the training methods and programs of Arthur Lydiard in running which is a result of years of experimentation and studies on himself. Up to this time, I am still a strong believer and follower of the Lydiard Method of Training in Running.
If you want to know the details of the works and written studies of these two running icons, you can easily “google” their names and you have a lot of manuscripts and books you can read in the Internet. However, these runners/writers thoughts will always boil down to the “basic principles of training for running” and other endurance sports which in my mind are the most important for everybody to remember, whether you are a beginner or a competitive or an elite athlete. The following principles are the most important and basic for everybody:
1) Build-Up Foundation—For you to become a strong and fast runner, you must be able to build-up the much needed foundation because you need to be stable and firm. It is like constructing a house or a building that you need to build a stable foundation first before you construct those rooms, walls, stairs, and others. In running, you must be able to progressively introduce stress to your body system so that you will develop strength on your legs and improve the aerobic capability of your respiratory and blood circulation system. Remember the word, progressively! It takes time for you to develop those strong legs and strong heart & lungs to run a 3K, 5K, or 10K run. It takes patience and perseverance to build-up a stable foundation in running. In my experience, the longer period I build-up my mileage and the more number of my weekly mileage is, the more I am stable and prone-free from any injury. Would you believe that I trained for my first marathon for one year by just building-up those mileages?
2) Consistency—If you want to be a good and competitive runner, you should be consistent in your training. It means that you must at least run every day or maintain a certain level of fitness in running. It means that for a certain level or classification of a runner (beginner, non-competitice, competitive, elite, or national elite), you must maintain a number of average kilometers or miles to be ran for the week. To a leisure/non-competitive runner, he/she must be able to maintain at least a weekly total of 40 kilometers to maintain a certain level of fitness. If you are a competitive runner, the more you have those weekly miles and kilometers to cover. Through consistency in running, you must also remember to apply the “hard-easy” method. It means that you must be able to “listen to your body”. Assuming that you are still building-up your foundation, if you ran 10 kilometers today, make sure you run a lesser number of kilometers the next day or on your next session, and follow this method in your training program. If you are already in the competitive level, do not do your “speed” training in two consecutive days. Let your muscles/body system recover and you will be surprised that your body will adapt to the stress and you will become stronger and faster in your next workout.
3) Specificity of Training—Simply said, if you want to be a stronger and faster runner, you must run! Do not swim, do not bike, do not develop nice muscles at the gym, do not play badminton, or do not play basketball in order to improve your running finishing times. Stretching, yoga, pilates, plyometrics, and other drills are just supplementary means to improve your performance but 99% of your effort must be in running.
Just remember these three (3) basic principles in training for running and you will enjoy the sports we love most!!!
Good luck to all the runners in the Mizuno Infinity Run! My spirit will be with you as I will be contented to have my easy run at the Elysian Park Trails and then move to the Griffith Park Trails and later end up my runs at the Silverlake Reservoir & Echo Lake Park Loops!