What lessons have I learned in a decade of running?
First of all ten years, wow! How time flies!
In that time I have run approximately 15,000 km!
That’s the equivalent of me running around Australia!
I’ve run 5k’s, half-marathons, most recently a marathon, trails, and even an ultra!
It’s fair to say that I have learned a lot in that time.
Time on feet
When it comes to the long run, it’s not about how far you can go in x amount of time. But rather how long you are on your feet.
This is especially important when it comes to training for trail and ultra events.
As someone who has a stand-up job, the time on my feet at my job also has to be taken into consideration while training for an event.
This brings me to my next point.
Your body doesn’t understand stress
I cover easily 8km a day due to the type of job I have. If I were to take into consideration my job and the stress of running, I could easily cover 100-150km in a week.
Yeah, that’s a lot of kilometers.
Stress is stress, your body doesn’t understand where it’s coming from. So it’s important to understand this when you approach your training.
Train smater, not harder.
The other thing you need to understand is your body does not know the difference between you running 5km on the dot, or running 4.8km.
All it understands is stress. This stress is the same.
It’s ok to finish your run at 4.8km. It’s not always about round numbers.
Every runner has overtrained
Yep, guilty as charged.
Overtraining can take on many forms:
- extended muscle soreness
- slower recovery
- legs feel heavy and tired
- loss of motivation
It’s better to skip a workout, and allow your body an extra recovery day. You will perform better for it, and are less likely to get an overuse injury.
Every runner has under recovered
*slowly raises hand* Yep, guilty of that too.
Recovery isn’t just rest days. It’s sleep.
If you aren’t sleeping enough, then that’s going to affect your training and ultimately your performance.
Recovery happens between your workouts.
You add no variety
Do you just head out the door, and run at one pace for all your runs?
If you are new to running, that’s ok, in fact, you shouldn’t add any variety until you build up kilometers into your legs. At least 500km. Once you have done that, you can slowly introduce speed play into your workouts.
If you want to see improvements then you need to mix things up.
- A running buddy
Need inspiration, check out my collection of speedwork workouts on the blog.
If you aren’t seeing improvements in your running, I can guarantee you it’s because your easy runs, are not easy.
Which is why I love the Rate of Percieved Effort Scale.
Check out my blog post on how to make Easy Runs Easy for more info.
Training Runs are Test Runs
Long runs aren’t just about getting distances in your legs.
They are about testing the gear you will be using, from shoes, socks and clothing.
There is nothing worst to discover that your favorite singlet gives you chaffing on runs over 2 hours.
Or the shoes that you use for 5k, give you epic blisters by 25k.
It’s also the perfect opportunity to test what fuel you will be using.
During a training run, for Run to Paradise, I discovered that the homemade fuel I made was too thick. My next batch I made thinner, and was much more enjoyable to consuming.
As the saying goes “nothing new on race day”. If you haven’t tested during a long run, don’t attempt to test it on race day.
Remember to have fun
Races shouldn’t always be about personal bests.
While getting a personal best is nice, I get more enjoyment from the experience, the scenery and the people I meet along the way.
Have fun, you run because you enjoy it.
If running isn’t fun anymore, remember your why and go do something that does bring you joy.
What will the next 10 years bring?
Who knows! I just want to go out there, have fun, and see what I’m capable of.
I do know that I want to officially pop my marathon cherry at Melbourne Marathon 2022, but I also see another 50k Ultra on the cards.