You’ve heard it before, practice makes perfect. While perfection certainly isn’t the ultimate goal for everyone here, I’m sure that running a strong race is a top priority. The best, and perhaps only, way to ensure success is by staying consistent throughout your training cycle. Consistency doesn’t mean running every day, and it also doesn’t mean that there won’t be setbacks and struggles. What is does mean is keeping a clear vision of your goal, and making the daily decisions that need to be made in order to see that goal realized. I’ve been coaching all levels, for every surface and any distance throughout my career…and these are the top three nuggets of wisdom I can impart to ensure consistency:
1) Focus on progression at the macro level. There will be training runs where things just don’t “click” and you may feel that what you’re doing isn’t working, or that you are not progressing as rapidly as you think you should be. This is a conversation I’ve had many times before. Not every day is going to be the perfect day, but as long as you are trending in the right direction you can forget about the details.
2) Don’t “make up” missed mileage. Trying to do extra work to come back from lost time significantly increases injury risk and can also be detrimental to a progressive, periodized training plan. If you missed the workout yesterday, don’t dwell on it. More importantly, don’t try to rebound in a way that could sideline you for the season. The past is the past, and doesn’t exist anymore. Now is the now. Be your best you in the moment, and don’t stress about yesterday. Sure, getting sick is not ideal and that crisis at work might not resolve itself. But life happens, and you’d be well-advised to just roll with the punches.
3) Do something every day that gets you closer to your goal. For the most part this means completing the workout that is in your training plan. Other days it might mean something completely different! Are you scheduled for a recovery day? Use the time to truly recover by stretching, rolling or getting a massage. Do you have to miss a workout because your flight was delayed? Close your eyes and visualize the race in your head while you’re stuck in the airport. Did your morning miles take longer than planned and now you’re stuck in traffic on the way into work? Bring your attention to your breath and practice nasal breathing to stimulate your parasympathetic nervous system. It will help your body recover, and help your brain relax.