Many beginner runners give up in the early stages of a new training plan, and it’s partly because they try too hard too quickly, which takes away the enjoyment. Momentum must be built slowly and gradually, and if it feels too hard, then the chances are it is too hard, and the solution is to take a small step back and slow it down. Be patient about increasing your speed and distance covered, and always train at the level your fitness is at now rather than where you think it is or want it to be.
The Importance of Establishing a Routine
Consistency is also vital, and once you establish a routine, you should do your best to maintain it by sticking with your plan. If you can easily get away from the house for 20-40 minutes, then make the most of that time, and this is where training for time rather than distance becomes an advantage. A kilometre is always a kilometre, and 10 minutes is always 10 minutes. Still, as you get fitter and stronger, the time required to cover a kilometre will get less, so ideally, you should be using those minutes saved to run further, which in turn gets you fitter.
Struggling to consistently train over time? Run in the Dark coach and international endurance athlete John O’Regan shares his 5 tips for consistent training.
5 Ways to Build Consistent Running Training
- Pre-plan what you’re doing and when you’re doing it, so that you to consciously get into the habit of running/training. That way, it will become part of your weekly routine. Follow a training schedule and add it to your calendar or to-do list. For example, every Wednesday from 7pm-8pm, I meet my club-mates for a fast-paced run, and because we’ve been doing this so regularly, we don’t need to check in with each other beforehand. We train even if the sun isn’t shining.
- Don’t develop an over-reliance on technology. For example, music can be good company, but if you get too used to it, you might find it hard to run without it, and what do you do if it’s not available or not allowed in a race?
- Be prepared for bad weather and dark evenings by having the appropriate clothing available. This cancels out an excuse.
- Staying injury-free is most important to gathering momentum, so don’t ignore any obvious warning signs, as an unexpected injury will stop you in your tracks. If you’re interested in finding out more about how to stay injury free, check out this blog.
- Even a short run at a slow pace will benefit when starting out, so don’t think it’s not worth your while going out for even a few minutes.
It’s advisable to consult with your doctor before starting on any new exercise regime if starting from a base of zero fitness and years of inactivity or returning from illness or injury.
About John O’Regan
John O’Regan is the official running coach for Run in the Dark.
John O’Regan has run over 50 marathons and ultra-marathons on seven continents / 20 countries and represented Ireland on ten occasions at ultra-marathon distance. Follow him on Instagram and Twitter at @johnoregan777.
As darkness sweeps around the globe every November, 25,000 people worldwide get up from their armchairs, slip on their red flashing armbands and pull on their running shoes to complete a 5k or 10k. From Sydney to San Francisco, together, we run for those who dream to walk.
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