Most of us who run want to make some progress. Maybe to develop our ability to run for a certain time or distance, or perhaps run a little faster; very often it’s both.
Assuming we want to progress or improve, we really should be asking the question: exactly what are we training for?
There is a real distinction between running for running’s sake and training.
Training should be specific. This means that every run should have a purpose, and we should know what that purpose is before we step out of the door. Is it to build endurance? Or perhaps develop some speed? Perhaps a recovery run. Sometimes we run for other reasons, maybe for social reasons. But the message remains the same, define what you want to do, then decide how you are going to do it.
If you go out and do the same old run, day after day, week after week, you are going to be the same old runner. After your initial fitness plateaus, you won’t improve; you’ll keep doing the same thing and you’ll keep doing the same thing. If you want to explore you potential as a runner, then you’ll have to explore what you can do in training. Be clear. Want to get faster? Then introduce some faster running to your training. Want to get stronger up the hills? Then a hill session is calling.
It’s not difficult, but it is also very easy to get stuck in a rut with running training. So think about precisely what you are training for. How is your next training session going to develop you as a runner? With seven days in each week, there is massive scope for shaping your schedule to suit your own individual training needs. Every run is an opportunity not to be wasted.
What areas should you be looking at? Well, that depends on you and your running. But, as a starter, you should be looking to develop the foundations that define your running ability: speed, endurance, strength, flexibility, technique, and mental strength. Where are you weak? Where are you strong? Use these questions as a launch pad to take you and your running to the next level — and a probably new set of PBs too.