This article was originally posted by Ryan at the original HillRunner.com Blogs.
"Is is still possible to improve as a runner and qualify for Boston being consistent week to week rather than necessarily day by day?"
This is a question I was asked recently by a runner who needed some flexibility in her day to day schedule. Not every week is she able to get in the long run on the same day of the week so we were exploring the idea of a bit more flexibility.
Some runners thrive on a consistent schedule. Every Sunday is your long run, every Tuesday is your speed workout. You don’t have to think about it. You just do it. Personally, I’m one of those runners. My life outside of running is relatively consistent and I just like not having to think about when to fit specific runs in. It also works for my family life. My family knows, if I’m not racing, expect me to be running for 2 hours Saturday morning. Sunday morning’s run will be shorter.
For other runners, this routine just doesn’t work, though. Work or family life may not be as consistent. If you try to force that long run on Saturday, it will work sometimes but other times it just won’t happen. If you’re one of those people, don’t try to force things.
I often say the key to developing as a runner is consistency. The key to consistency, though, isn’t doing your long run or primary workout on the same day of the week every week. It’s doing all of your planned runs every week. It doesn’t matter if your long run is on Thursday this week and Sunday next week or if your workout is on Monday this week and Wednesday next week. What matters is that you’re getting all of these runs, along with as many easy runs as possible/reasonable, done on a consistent basis.
Be flexible. Keep the big picture in mind and use that flexibility to make yourself more consistent.
By the way, here is how I responded to the question at the beginning of this post:
"You can absolutely qualify for Boston being consistent week to week! Really, week to week and month to month consistency is what we’re looking for. Whether you do your long run every Friday or Sunday doesn’t matter as long as you’re doing it every week (or most weeks at least). Same with the workout. The day of the week doesn’t matter, what matters is that it gets done more often than not."