An unorthodox approach to being a faster distance runner.

Every runner loves the exhilarating feeling of tracking how many miles they ran daily or weekly. Knowing you ran some great distances throughout the week make you proud and push you to go back out there to tackle some more miles. However these can also be the intimidating factors that keep you from going out there to do your run. Those who plan on running anything above a half-marthon are obsessed with the idea of tracking your miles. This makes me question, does tracking your miles and having a schedule of your daily workouts truly make you better? I would say absolutely not! No one else can coach you better than you can coach yourself. What does that mean? Improvements in distance running are not obtained by going off strict guidelines, rather they are obtained by one gaging their body’s condition, emotion and desires. Take me for example, let’s say I want to train for the Boston Marathon.


The above is the Boston course. It’s a challenging and undisputedly long. So today my body was feeling great, even after a hard practice the day before. My body felt great, therefore I knew I would not mind doing another long and hard run. My workout was determined after I noticed I had lots of energy and no soreness. Now tomorrow I could be sore, tired, or simply not feeling another hard run. What I will do is come up with a certain amount of time that I plan to run, then just make that my workout. This is precisely what will make you faster. Why you may wonder? By going off of your body’s current state and not a schedule you can better push yourself on a good day than ordinary day. For example, if you have a hard workout planed for yourself and you are feeling crappy the entire day you will not enjoy your run for one and second you can not push yourself as much as you want to.


This all goes to say, listen to your body and not your schedule. You should balance the days when you push yourself and days when you can take it easy. While it is not a bad thing to track miles, it is not the most efficient, tracking time is. You should plan workouts by how long you plan on running so that on the harder days you can knockout more miles. Before you know it you will be more than prepared for any race because you chose to train smart!

How do you practice for your races? Do you think this approach will work best for you?


11 comments on “An unorthodox approach to being a faster distance runner.

  1. i’m all for this idea! while i do have a set training schedule in mind, i also go by the rule that it’s fluid, and that sticking steadfastly to a schedule will do me no good if, in doing so, i’m ignoring my body’s signals – because more than likely i’ll end up injured or burnt out. i like schedules in general – type A personality! – but nobody can deny that a spontaneous run just because it feels right, even if it isn’t on your training plan, isn’t one of the most amazing aspects of the sport.

  2. I agree. Last year I had a “coach” who gave me monthly training plans. There were days when it went great, and other days when it just plain sucked, and mainly because I was feeling crappy to begin with. I began to get discouraged, consequently starting a dislike of running, which is not the way it should be. I dropped the coach and started listening to my body. Some days I craved hills, long runs, intervals, and other days, I wanted to go uber slow. I had a general guideline of how many fast/hard days, and how many miles I wanted to go, but I didn’t stress about it.
    I was able to cut my marathon time from a 2:58 down to a 2:54. Totally worked!

  3. I sent your post to my son who is training to run an under-3hr marathon. Thought you might be interested in his reply:
    Haha. I couldn’t have said it any better. 20 miles today. Was feeling good so I did it a little faster. Finished in 2:26. Slowest mile was 7.42 but that was going up the bridge with the 25 mph wind knocking me sideways. Had a 6.58 the mile before though. 😄

  4. I love this! Well said. I think too many people concentrate on the mileage and doing planned runs on those exact days. This is a great approach! Thanks for posting 🙂

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s