The big key to prolonged success is... consistency!
There are many "shortcut" training methods that will, in the short-term, reap fast performances: training too fast for current fitness, running every run too fast, improper recovery, over-training, etc. But these methods typically lead to injury, fatigue and athlete burnout.
I am much more impressed with a runner's streak of injury-free training, than I am with any other meaningless mileage statistics.
What do you mean by the "consistent runner"?
It is not just about running regularly. We need to be consistent in all things that lead to better, faster injury-free running.
Consistent Nutrition: Do you eat a regular diet of fast food, processed food, soft drinks? Why handicap yourself with a terrible diet? Don't deprive yourself of a treat now and then. But soft drinks? Totally worthless to the endurance athlete. Be aware of what you are putting in your body. Nothing tastes as good as a PR feels!
Consistent Sleep: Put down the iPad, turn off the tv, go to sleep. Our biggest gains in fitness come during recovery, and sleep is essential. Be sure you are getting an adequate amount of sleep on a regular basis.
Consistent Maintenance: If the foam roller keeps your IT Band happy... don't skip the foam roller! When we feel good we ignore our daily preventive maintenance. Only when we get injured do we pay attention. Avoid injury and doctor's offices by listening to your body and paying attention to your particular weak links.
Consistent Base Endurance: Train, Race, Recover Repeat. It is that simple. The long breaks from running cause our base endurance to erode. We have to start over from the beginning to get back to racing shape. Maintain a year round long run. I like my runners to run at least a 90 minute long run every two weeks, even in 5K season. That deep, consistent endurance base will translate to better performances at all distances.
If you can't get to the starting line fit and healthy... you can't ever reach your finish line goal!
Run Smart. Train Hard. Race Fast.
Coach Kevin is an RRCA-certified Running Coach. National Coach ~ Team McGraw, National Coach ~ St Jude Heroes.