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Distance Training Tips

Eric Blake

Distance training is a life long process with the goal of getting stronger year after year. With this is mind it is important for the athlete to believe in what they are doing, stay healthy, train hard and probably the most important but overlooked component is have fun in what they are doing.

1) The athlete has to believe in the training.

If the athlete does not believe in what they are doing (or even has a little doubt) they will be doomed in their first race. Racing is so much mental and one cannot be thinking negative about themselves or their coach. The athlete wants to go into a race thinking I have done everything I need to run my best.

2) Staying healthy.

Most injuries can be caught early if the athlete listens to his or her body. Too many athletes (and coaches for that matter) ignore the early signs of injury and try to train through the injury. Eventually a major injury occurs and the athlete is then out for a long period of time. Runners get better as they get older at listening to their body. Another important component is run on soft surfaces. I don’t know how some people can run on roads everyday. Stick to grass, trails or dirt roads.

3) Train Hard.

If you have coach this part is easy. Just listen to him or her. If they are a good coach you will do fine if you believe in them. If you do not believe in them then get a new coach or coach yourself.

If you are self-coached runner this is more difficult. Every runner is different and needs slightly different training. The key is to find out what works for you. You should read as much training information as possible and talk to older runners and see what worked for them. I believe you need to get stronger and stronger each year. This can be done by distance runs and tempo runs. The volume of your training is very important. High volume shows consistency. I believe the amount of mileage per week is on an individual basis but try to get it high and make it a part of your life. At least once a week, in season, a runner should do a workout that corresponds to race pace. That means a 4:00 miler should do something at 60 second quarter pace or a 2:20 miler should do running at 5:20 pace. This help’s not only physically but mentally you know you can handle the pace.

4) Have fun in what you are doing.

Too many runners will try to train hard but get caught up in the work load. They may say “I can’t believe I am going to run 120 miles this week” and will crack mentally before they can even attempt it. The thing to do is just run. Don’t overwhelm yourself and think about it too much. It is not much fun to get out of bed on a Sunday morning and say “I have to go run a 25 mile long run.” It is better to say “I am going to run a long run”.

Also the most important tip on keeping it fun is doing what YOU want to do. It is important to train hard but it is much easier to train hard when you want to do what you are training for. For example if you want to run road races…then run road races. If you want to run a marathon….then run a marathon. If you hate to run (which surprises me how many runners do) then you may want to think about doing something else. Enjoy the process and the day to day training.


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