Developing a Training Plan Part III: Consistency - Page 2
When I speak of intensity and how it relates to consistency, I’m referring to 1) the frequency at which varying-pace workouts are performed, and 2) keeping your pace as consistent as possible within the parameters of those specific workouts. For example, if you are training to race a 10K, it's important to not only frequently run 6 x one-mile repeats, but to also run them at (or just below) your ideal (and realistic) goal 10K race pace.
Just as you would not expect to have perfectly sculpted biceps if you only did a handful of bicep curls once every two months, so should you not expect to get faster if you do not perform regular speed work.
One important thing to note: Intensity isn’t always as “intense” as we think. Your recovery runs and regular training runs (the runs in between hard workout days) should be run not only at a consistent pace, but one that is sustainable for your body day-in and day-out. These runs are the foundation of your training plan. If you run hard every day, while consistent, you will eventually reach your personal point of diminishing return and your performance will diminish.
Your body must recover between hard workouts. One surefire way to minimize unnecessary rest is to run every workout at the proper pace. If your pace is inconsistent, you risk running too fast and needing more time to recover, or running too slow and not stressing your body enough to reap the physiological benefits to make you faster.
The body is resilient, but it needs continual stimulation to perform optimally. The more you implement consistency in both your mileage and the proper intensity for each workout, your body will not only respond by becoming increasingly efficient, but also by increasing your propensity to handle more stress … which is of course just a fancy way of saying you will become stronger and able to run longer.
A good workout to develop proper uphill running form and increased leg turnover is 10 x 1-minute hill repeats on a hill with a 6- to 10-percent grade.
After warming up for 20 minutes, designate a starting line at the base of a hill, then run for one minute at 5K race effort. After the minute is over, immediately turn around and jog easy back to your designated start line. Your recovery is the amount of time it takes you to return to the start line. Immediately repeat.
Follow the workout with a 15- to 20-minute cool down.
Megan Lizotte is a decorated elite distance runner and online running coach at www.hgrunning.com. She is a three-time World Mountain Running Championships competitor, two-time Olympic Marathon Trials qualifier and 2011 USATF Trail Marathon Champion.