Wednesday, December 24, 2014
My first rule to be the best runner you can be is "run often". By "often" I mean daily unless you are wrecked, ill or have no time whatsoever. By "run" I mean both feet in the air at times for at least 30 minutes.
Most runners who struggle with injuries when running every day do so because they run too fast. I run as slow as 9min/mile pace (6min/k) for my easy runs. That's 3 min/mile slower than marathon pace. It could actually be even slower. I wouldn't know exactly because I don't measure it. On easy days I get passed left and right by anything that has at least one leg. Leave your ego at home until race day. That applies to every run outside a race.
If you tend to get injured easily, use the winter months to get more economic. Running economy is developed by running lots. Run less miles, scratch any fast running and just get out every single day. If you can, go twice. Join challenges such as "100 runs in 100 days" to stay motivated. Just google it. They are everywhere on the interweb.
When I started my running after 5 months completely off, I picked my well cushioned Nike Lunaracer to get through a 2 mile jog. 10 weeks of daily running later - I think I had 5 days off in total in that period due to work and travel - I feel much more efficient which means I can skip cushioning on my easy runs. I often jog in shoes like the Saucony Hattori. And it feels great.
I don't think you should be a slave of your running and run every single day, whatever it takes. Recognize that there will be the odd day when running would be crazy or plain inappropriate. You will get a good feeling for when that is the case or when you just don't feel like it.
My luxury is that I am self employed which means I have lots of freedom when to run during the day. The downside is that I don't establish a routine which makes it easier for long term commitment. Get a couple of buddies lined up every morning at the same time and just get it done.
One last note about "cross training". I go to the gym 3-4 times per week for 30-40 min during the winter and ride my bike during the summer. While there might be a time during the year when cross training INSTEAD of running can be appropriate, you have to understand that you will have a better chance to improve your running when you go running. And, once again, 30min. slow jogs do count as running. It's all about the total load, not individual days. Train your mind and body to accept running as a natural occurrence during your day.