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The power of consistency-How training is like investing

One of the great things about running is that it is truly a cumulative sport. What you do today impacts what happens tomorrow, and what you have done for the week influences what you can do for the month. This even has repercussions for what you are doing for the year and beyond. As intimidating as that reality is, it also leads us to one of the greatest and most overlooked training secrets out there, and that is the power of consistency.

I once had a coach that loved to talk about finances, and especially finances in relation to running. One of the greatest analogies he ever used was in reference to “training deposits.” He viewed running like depositing your weekly paycheck. The more you run, the more you can put in at the end of the week. The more you have put in over time, impacts what you can do with your money…or your running. Unfortunately, if we are spending too much, or not showing up to work, we either are jobless or broke. In the same way, if we are spending too much (overtraining and potentially getting injured) or not showing up (skipping runs/cutting things short) our deposits start to look pretty pathetic. What we want to do later is most likely negatively impacted if we haven’t been smart with our training account. Ouch. Fortunately, when we are consistently making training deposits, what we can invest in usually looks a little prettier.

If you are like me, chances are you have been on both sides of the coin with training debt and training surplus. I have made some mad money (fast running) in short periods of time and unfortunately that mad money was followed by years of training debt (injury after injury).  Fortunately, four years ago I began to look at the big picture with my “training investments.” I knew if I ever wanted to reach my goals I needed to be consistent, even if it meant starting with small investments. Fortunately, that paid off with speed and health.

So why does consistency matter? As a commitment to your development, consistency is one of the biggest secrets. In a society of instant gratification, we must remember that improvement and development takes time. Aerobic development, callusing to hard sessions and the ability to build upon layers of work, takes time and consistent training.

Let’s take a look at the top perks of consistency

  • Build fitness at an easier rate: Not having Yo-yo training is critical for long term fitness and general health development

  • Reduce your risk of injury

  • Ability to maintain fitness after unplanned breaks in training (i.e injury or sickness)

  • Greater probability of handling greater training loads/stresses down the road

What do you need to establish consistency

  • A training plan with mapped out progression

  • Measurable goals

  • Injury prevention plan

  • Mental power to follow through...accountability, motivation, patience, and a willingness to learn from past experience.  

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Mariah

If this time last year someone would have said to me, "By April 2016 you'll have run 3 5Ks and will be running 15 miles every week (and enjoying it!)," I'd have laughed and made a joke about being chased by a scary clown. But, here I am, just finished my 3rd 5K with a time a little bit better than the last.  I'm really glad RunningLane encourages beginners. As someone who has never run or even been very athletic, it's nice to have guidance and a place to get my questions answered. Big thanks to my coach, Michael for setting me up with a program that I can stick with and challenges me.  My program is just that…mine.  It is tailored to my fitness level and ability and having someone to check in with each week keeps me accountable. It’s working!  In 14 weeks with my coach and RunningLane my BMI has dropped 5 points, my cholesterol went from over 200 to 165, and my resting heart rate has lowered because my heart is healthier and happier!  Thank you, RunningLane!