This article was originally posted by Ryan at the original HillRunner.com Blogs.
This kind of roller coaster is fun – the running roller coaster is not
It’s theme park month for me. I recently visited Six Flags and have a coming trip to Wisconsin Dells.
Those are fun roller coasters. The running roller coaster? Not so much fun.
What’s the running roller coaster?
The running roller coaster is the training routine I see so many people get stuck on and I’d like to encourage you to break. It’s the pattern where you train very hard for a few weeks, maybe even a month or two, then you get burned out or injured. You reduce your training significantly or stop running for a while to recover, then when you start back up you feel like you’re behind plan so you jump right back in to very heavy training and the cycle starts over.
So how do I avoid the running roller coaster?
I find myself repeatedly saying that I’d rather see you training at 90% of your capacity 100% of the time than training at 110% of your capacity 80% of the time. You’ll get much better results with that consistency than you will pushing harder but breaking down and missing time.
Some people like workouts where you go all out. They say it teaches toughness or it instills some ability to push harder on race day. I don’t believe in that. I believe they break you down. I would prefer you finish your workouts feeling like you had a little more left. Likewise, make sure other aspects of training are sustainable. Just because you can do a 50 mile week once or twice doesn’t mean you should. You will be better served sticking with 45 consistently.
I’m not suggesting you shouldn’t challenge yourself. However, do so judiciously. Make sure you’re not challenging yourself too frequently or too severely.
And save the all out efforts for race day.