|Training in Kaptagat, Kenya.|
Below bits of advice are based on some of the common questions and clarifications that some of the runners I coach online have been seeking to know.
1. Differentiate between your jogging, easy, moderate and hard runs
These are the common words that we usually use to refer to our workouts; Jog, Easy, Moderate and hard. Here is how to understand them roughly.
Jogging is so close to your brisk walking pace when you are hardly lifting your legs off the ground. Easy is when you are actually running but not straining in any way. It is that pace in which you are able to have a conversation but still keep running at it. Moderate is a relatively hard run, but that in which you can still reserve some energy for another faster gear. Hard is very close to your race pace.
For example, let's say that you are able to run 3:00 minutes for one km when you go all-out. Then, your hard run should be about 3:20/km for a 15 km run, moderate run 3:50/km, easy 4:20 - 5:10/km, jogging 6:30- 9:00/km, etc.
Every run has a reason. Harder runs help build the aerobic capacity while the easier runs help in recovery while at the same time assisting in building endurance and muscle strength. Moderate and tempo runs help the body get used to the racing conditions.
2. Strive to go slow and steady.
If you start pushing your training too early, your body and mind may begin to fight back and you will suddenly find yourself with reasons to skip some workouts or find yourself tiring easily during training.
The main aim of training should be to get fit while having some fun at the same time. It is good to have some long term plans as well as some not so ambitious little steps towards it.
Runners who set high expectations in a short time often end up frustrated and ruining their running careers.
3. Sometimes it gets easier when you do more runs in a week than one or two
Getting going in training is like rolling a big tractor tire. It is hard to get it to start rolling, but once you start; it gets easier to keep it rolling as long as you maintain a little push to it.
From personal experience and watching runners around, I have noticed that runners who put in more than six runs in a week always do enjoy their runs and do not have a problem with waking up daily to do their training. Those who train less than five times on the other hand often end up struggling not only with their runs but even in getting up to train on the days of their choice.
4. Do mobility and stretching exercises after training
I have noticed that many runners do not know that there is a difference between mobility and stretching exercises. For stretching, you stick to one posture for over 15 seconds as you stretch a particular set of muscles. Mobility is where you move or rotate your hands, legs, waist, etc in different directions.
This helps with preventing and even treating some injuries. It may also help improve your running performances as your range of motion and stretch increase.
5. Sleep and rest are as important as training
For your running career to be successful, it is not only about the hard work you do that count; recovering and sleeping are also as important.
If you are doing up to two runs in a day, then you definitely will have to take a nap sometime during the day. Strive to sleep early as well.
6. Eat and rehydrate well
It is either all the runners I have worked with already know this, or I advise them about it before they get the chance to ask it themselves.
Nutrition is important for one to remain healthy and strong during their training period. It helps to know the suitable food to take in order to get the best benefits to your training.
7. You do not need to do everything you read on the internet
If you go to the internet, there are so many training methods; running products that include energy gels, pre-race powders, protein supplements, racing shoes that claim to add up to 4% improvement, energy drinks, special clothing that eliminates air resistance, pace-setting GPS watches, electrolytes, running glasses, compression and performance socks, and so much more.