Runners' Beans

Consistency is key

Consistency is key
1.consistent behaviour or treatment.
So you want to get faster, or you are perplexed why the 6 weeks of training you did for a race didn't get you a PR?  
You probably need to take a step back and look at the big picture.  Doing a challenging tempo run, an interval run, 2 steady state runs and a long run in 1 week are great, but if you then take a couple of weeks off or only get a couple of steady state runs in then you'll most likely be going backwards, not forwards.
Taking 2 weeks off will also mean you will need anywhere up to 8 weeks to get back to the fitness levels you were at previously.  You can't maintain or improve your fitness if you are constantly fighting to get back to where you were. 
Remember, it's not what we do some of the time that makes a difference, it's what we do most of the time (that is a really good rule of thumb to apply to nutrition as well).
Now, we all live in the real world and so it's hard to keep up the consistency week in, week out, but here are some tips to help:
  1. Schedule it in.  Look at your week and set time around it and then stick to it.  Early morning runs can be a great way to get your run in before the craziness of the day sets in.
  2. Be realistic.  If you are new to running, then maybe 6 days a week of running isn't for you and you'll find it hard to stay committed (not least because you'll probably get injured).  Work out a plan that works for your life.
  3. Join a running club or programme (like RunnersConnect).  It suddenly becomes a lot harder to say no to something you have committed to with others and maybe paid for.
  4. S**t happens.  You will miss a few runs on your schedule (storms, work, kids events, sickness, etc.), so just get onto your next run as per the plan.  Don't look at this as an all or nothing thing - consistency is built up over months and years.