To reach one’s goals and potential, takes time. Part of the process is in creating a proper base to build off of. Once a base and routine can be established, then the ability to achieve becomes that much easier. Let’s discuss five key components to building that base. In no particular order, those components are: Nutrition, weight training, having a program, logging workouts (data), and sleep.
Go on the internet and look up nutrition or food plans for runners. Before you do that, get prepared to see a multitude of advice and opinions about what works best. This is an area that trends change constantly. What works one month is quickly replaced by a new method soon thereafter. The new popular food is quickly replaced by a new popular food. Recommended levels of protein, fat and carbs are changed so much that it’s hard to keep up.
What’s most important to remember, and this can apply to pretty much everything in this article, is that food planning/nutrition is a preference thing. Meaning what works for you is your key to understanding food planning. Generic means generic. My advice… try out multiple food plans and ideas. Then zero in on what you like best. This will take time but will pay off in the end. If you want to expedite things, find a dietitian that specializes in athletic nutrition. If you can, find someone who specializes in runners. It's not easy but they are out there.
I had an athlete that tried so many plans when it came to food. It wasn’t till they started working with a dietician that they were able to find out what worked best.
Runners’ tend to do one thing when it comes to exercise: Running. If you want to see improvement, you need to incorporate weight training into your routine. Can you improve by just sticking to running? Yes but you are going to see limited gains over time and you are going to break down physically over time. Weight training allows you to maintain muscle, improve muscular balance and of course build strength. A good weight training program includes flexibility and core in addition to weights.
I had an athlete that kept struggling in their marathon races. Each race would fall apart somewhere between miles 13 to 17. Their running base was solid. The fault in their training was not adhering to a weight training plan. Once they started to “believe” in the benefits of such, they started to see personal bests in consecutive marathon races. Bottom line, please add weight training to your routine.
Programming and Logging workouts:
I’m combining the next two components because they go hand in hand together.
Having a program to follow is a big key to success. This goes for whether you are in maintenance mode or training for a particular event or just for general fitness. By having a program, you can track progress and make adjustments along the way. More importantly, goals are created and without goals success is typically limited. Coaches like myself and others, are hired to help athletes reach their goal (or goals) and to also help create plans that are specific to the athlete.
More often than not, a coach is hired because an athlete is in need of guidance. Click here to check out some of my programs.
Logging workouts helps you progress in a tremendous way. You get to see where you were in your training and where you are headed. You get to see where adjustments can be made. Your coach can help you improve so much quicker by having the data that a log provides. The log also keeps you accountable to yourself. Without the accountability, you will have a hard time achieving what you are looking for.
Statistics show that those who log workouts are 100% more sure to succeed than those that don’t. That pretty much sums it up.
Sleep? Yup. So often, most people are not getting in enough hours of shut eye. Sleep is important if not for recovery but also for resetting your internal body functions. Not getting enough hours can have a detrimental effect on your training and health. Generically speaking, a good amount to shoot for is 8 hours. With that, I’ve seen 7 hours work for others. In the end, like everything else, this is a preference thing. However, this is an area that you cannot short change yourself. If you are already getting in 7 hours plus a night, great. If not, than do yourself a favor and start now to get in enough time of rest. Watch what happens next.
Building a base takes more than just running miles and miles. If you want to succeed and build a proper foundation, than you need to add in other components for success. While doing so, understand that you are building something that is designed for you and only you. You can incorporate parts from other’s successes. In the end, you need to have a format to follow that is “You” based.