A friend recently posted an article about what running harder won't help you get faster (Running Harder Won't Help You Get Faster) and it got me thinking.
Having run competitively through high school and college, I was trained hard for 3-4 months to *peak* for the big races at the end of our season (track and/ or cross country). And most of the time I ended up with some nagging injury that kept me from optimal performance at that race.
Would I have been in better shape at the end of the season if my coaches had taken a more moderate approach? Or if my coaches had trained me to my ability and not to the ability of the top runner?
An excerpt from the August 2013 issue of Running Times from Ryan Hall
As I've gotten older, I've realized that I cannot train at high intensities anymore. But that doesn't mean I can't improve my race times.
Please include attribution to RunnersConnect with this graphic.
High intensity workouts usually lead to an injury which then sets back your training. If the cycle is continually repeated, you'll end up behind the person who trained at a moderate intensity.
What does this mean for you? It means that by slowing down and taking a more moderate approach to your training (and your weight loss!) you will end up further ahead than if you had gone all out from the start.
As I start the journey to an ultra marathon, I've taken a different approach. I'm slowing down my runs and I'm adding in more strength training. I'll still hit some longer runs, but I'll make sure I'm running those on fatigued legs. I'll be running 3 days in a row with increasing milage each day so that the last run more closely resembles the last miles of the ultra.
My strength training will focus one more functional moves: push- ups, pull- ups, squats, lunges. I'll mix up my routines so that I'm not following the same weight workout each week.
And I'll make sure that I'm taking my rest days seriously.