How To Simplify Your Running Progress

sleeping cat

It is increasingly easy to find information these days and in an environment where everyone is trying to seem new and different, why are some people still struggling? Why is it just as hard as before to get better? In the digital information age knowing more simply isn’t enough.

Should you go low carb in the morning to optimise fat metabolism during your run? Or is it only effective if you put butter in your coffee? Should you taper for three weeks before your event or is two enough?

The problem is that if you want to, you’ll find people saying all these things. Most of them having a convincing argument for why. You can do all the research you want but is that the most effective use of your time?

If you’re looking for a silver bullet, a golden ticket to the land of results, a get fit quick scheme. IT DOES NOT EXIST. There is no easy way. BUT there are some very simple things you may not be doing well enough on a consistent basis to make things AS EASY AS POSSIBLE!

  • Sleep

  • Hydration

  • Nutrition

  • Training

Sleep

Sleeping approximately eight hours a night is the goal. That means allowing at least eight and a half hours in bed. If your life doesn’t allow this at the moment, modify your expectations on how great you’ll feel and perform. If you never sleep enough you literally don’t know how much you’re leaving on the table everyday.

“But I’ve always got six hours a night and feel fine”. Good for you! But you may be fooling yourself. Try getting eight hours every night for a week and see if you perform better. If not, go back to six and focus on the other areas, you may be an exception to the myriad of sleep science.

Hydration

If you feel thirsty it’s too late. Thirst is a terrible indicator of hydration status. Often we mistake thirst for hunger and sometimes we feel tired before we realise we’re just dehydrated. Your goal should be to NEVER FEEL THIRSTY. Drink more water more frequently and keep an eye on how you feel and perform. There’s not an athlete in the world that performs best when dehydrated!

vegetables

Nutrition

Nutrition is a huge and complex area, revolving around subconscious psychology and habits much more than simple will power. Setting up simple habits like drinking more water is a first step to eating well. A simple question before any food consumption can help improve your diet. “How will I feel after eating this?” Sluggish? Heavy? Content? Satisfied? Fuelled and motivated? Make everything a conscious choice towards performing better and you’ll be heading in the right direction. Don’t get caught up in the minutiae. Want some cake? Are you about to go run 10km? Probably wait until after! Focus on more vegetables and cook as much of your own food as you can manage. It doesn’t have to be that hard.

Training

Training can also be very overwhelming. Should you do your long run on a Tuesday or a Sunday? Do you strength train in the morning or evening? What about my interval sessions? Simplify! Get or even create a plan. Stick to that plan for long enough to know if it works. Repeat and progress the plan.

A plan should last at least eight weeks to know if it is effective. If you aren’t confident you can create one that will work, get yourself a tried and tested one created by, well, us maybe? Plans should be sensibly progressive, around 3-5% per week and allow a recovery or rest week every 4-6 weeks.

Working hard and concentrating on technique is far more important than what time of day or which day of the week you train. Focus on what counts; intent and good execution.

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