Have you ever been training perfectly for a competition only to find that you begin struggling to get through your workouts? You may be breaking one of the three most important rules every runner should follow.
Let’s first start with what “being consistent” does not mean. Being consistent does not mean you run the same thing day in and day out. That is a sure-fire way to burn out. For real. Being consistent means you plan your workouts and do them on a regular basis. If you can only fit three workouts into your week on a reliable basis then that is what your standard workout plan should include. You can add in a run if you want or drop one if you have to but consistency is critical for improvement.
Oh my gosh! If I had a dollar for every time someone told me they have to run seven days a week, I would be rich. My response to that statement is, “No, no you don’t.” Study after study has shown rest is just as critical for running and training success as the actual running itself. Look, you break down your muscles when you run. Those rejuvenate when you rest. Shortcutting the rest is just like shortcutting your run. You wouldn’t do one so why would you do the other?
Listen to Your Body
Yes, sometimes you do need to push through the pain. However if you are experiencing the same pain every single run, it’s time to address it. Sometimes it’s just a matter of incorporating some specific muscle movements or a special stretch into your warm-up or cool-down. Or maybe you need to add in some cross-training to strengthen other parts of your body. Or you may need full rest. Whatever the case, pay attention to those nagging aches and pains to determine what is “normal” and what is something that should be taken care of right away.