By Hayden Shearman // This is the first blog of a fortnightly series all about getting you trained up and raring to go for the 2016 Lion Foundation Rotorua Marathon (or half or quarter).
To kick off the R16 blogs, I wanted to share what I believe to be the three most common characteristics amongst successful runners.
By successful I don’t just mean wiry-thin-two-hour-something marathoners; no, a successful runner is one that chips away at personal bests (however slow or fast they might be), seeks out new challenges and, most of all, uses running to stay fit, happy and healthy for decades.
Here’s the top three characteristics that I’ve picked up from these runners:
1. Their Training is Consistent
Consider your everyday health, what would you prefer of the following:
A) Every few days to have one massive meal and one hugely long sleep, but then have broken sleep and on-the-run grazing meals the other days;
B) Nightly eight-hour sleeps with three good-sized meals a day?
Most of us would go for option B because our bodies and minds just like consistency and moderation. And it’s exactly the same with running.
The big gains come when we build habits over months and years by getting out running every day or every other day. Pounds melt away, PBs (personal bests) keep coming, and running becomes more and more of a natural, meditative pastime.
But when we binge run, by doing 15k when our longest run for the past month was 5k or we suddenly jump up to seven runs a week from zero, that’s when our bodies kick up a fuss. They feel uncomfortable while running (chaffing, bouncing, the stitch, fatigue) and can often end up injured.
The successful runner starts small but consistent. They challenge themselves with small weekly goals. And these become annual achievements that change their lives.
R16 Action Point: Start running, but don’t worry about distance or speed, just do it three or more times a week.
2. Their Recovery is Consistent
If you’ve ever had the stitch or blisters or cramps or black toenails or chaffing or over-heating or exhaustion from running you probably already have an idea that running is a form of stress.
It’s not so much like the mental stress we experience in rush hour traffic or when a work deadline is approaching; stress from running is physical. Your muscles, your tendons, your joints, your fascia, and even your heart and lungs have been stressed when you run.
Just like for your mental health you might need a few cold ones after finishing a stressful job, so too your running muscles need downtime after a long or intense run.
Successful runners are great at taking rest days, at listening to their bodies for niggles or fatigue, at massaging and foam rolling, and eating and sleeping well.
R16 Action Point: When you plan your training for the week, schedule in easy run days (short and slow) and rest days, particularly directly after or before big runs.
3. They Run Happy
If you don’t enjoy your running it’s going to be very hard to make it consistent. So utilise all the tools available to make your running as enjoyable as possible.
Here are some of those tools:
- Take company
- Run somewhere scenic
- Listen to your favourite playlist, podcast or audio book
- Run early in the day to avoid the lure of the couch
- Be a running tourist by exploring new areas
- Mix up the speeds
- Focus on good technique, not just on getting to the finish
- Track your runs with a GPS watch
- Reward yourself with nice recovery meals and running gear after completing a certain number of total kilometres.
Successful runners have good, tall postures when they run and they tread lightly on the pavement—all signs they are in a happy frame of mind and are making the choice to enjoy what they are doing.
R16 Action Point: Try incorporating two of the “running happy” tools above in each of the runs you do this week.
This is the first blog of a fortnightly series all about getting you trained up and raring to go for the 2016 Lion Foundation Rotorua Marathon (or half or quarter).
Be sure to grab your race entry here and check out TempoFit’s TEAM R16 to be part of an incredible community of likeminded runners of all abilities who are all training towards the Lion Foundation Rotorua Marathon 2016 (quarter, half and full distances).