This article was originally posted by Ryan at the original HillRunner.com Blogs.
Bo Ryan, the recently retired fundamentals coach
I’m a fan of Wisconsin basketball. Not just because I’m a Wisconsinite, though that plays a role, but also because I like the Bo Ryan way of doing things (thanks Andrew for sharing the link with me). Fundamentals first and foremost. In basketball, those who practice fundamentals the way the Badgers do will always be good, though they may not be flashy. Regardless of talent, they will always be competitive. They may not always overcome talented teams, especially talented teams that also focus on fundamentals, but they will at times and they will always be the teams labeled overachievers.
So what does this have to do with running? Well, the same is true in running. Practice the fundamentels until they are routine, then keep practicing them, and you’ll be an overachiever.
We’re runners, though. We aren’t passing and dribbling in running, we’re just putting one foot in front of the other. What does practice the fundamentals mean in running? Well, it means you don’t try to overcomplicate your training. Don’t try to copy workouts you hear about just because someone you admire is doing them. Stick to the fundamentals of training. Build a good base of volume, do the core workouts that you’ve been doing for years and you know work, don’t skimp on the basics. Just because you did a lot of tempo runs and strides last year doesn’t mean you get to skip them this year. It means you do them better. You do them faster if you’re coming in with a greater level of fitness. You don’t ignore what you were focusing on last year but you pick a weakness you found last year and give it extra attention. Make it a strength.
This doesn’t mean you don’t look for new things. New workouts are great if you have a reason and plan to fit them into your schedule. Have a plan, though. Have a reason for everything. And never overlook those basic fundamentals that have gotten you to where you are.