Our guest blogger today is ultramarathoner, Ironman triathlete, and running coach Kyle Kranz. Below, Kyle writes about how he used to focus on running as many miles as possible, crushing all his workouts, his "no pain no gain" mantra, racing all the races, etc and what he's learned since then. Read Kyle Kranz's top 5 lessons learned from running (the hard way) here...
Here, when I say "Old Me" and "New Me," I’m not referring to the old me from a previous non-running life who was 80 pounds heavier. Let’s talk about a more recent, old me. The newer athlete from over a decade ago who had no clue about injury prevention and had yet to dive deep into proper training methodologies.
Part of bettering yourself in any pursuit, athletic or not, is the ability to look back upon what you’ve discovered and how far you’ve come. Learn what you’ve learned! We’ve all been told that if we don’t learn from our mistakes we are doomed to repeat them. For me to write out my past errors here will both help me be more mindful of them for the future but also hopefully assist you in recognizing if you’re making some of the same mistakes.
1. Rest as hard as you run
Old Me: Run as much as possible!
New Me: Know that it is key to modulate training volume on daily, weekly, and monthly time ranges. One cannot sustain peak mileage forever. Having shorter distance days and weeks allows you to have the longer distance days and weeks. (This is especially true if you run commute.)
I plan rest days in before they are needed now, instead of waiting until I feel like I need a day or two lower or off. Following a schedule can help a great deal with this.
2. Everything in moderation
Old Me: Gotta crush every run!
New Me: Just because a run is done at an easy conversational effort does not mean it’s not benefiting my running fitness. This easy general pace should be roughly 80% of my volume. Easy runs allow for hard runs!
3. Your runs shouldn't all hurt
Old Me: No pain no gain!
New Me: The goal should never to go 100% and soreness is never a goal. Running too hard during hard runs requires longer periods of recovery where you could be running more. If you overdo a workout and your calves are sore five days, you missed out on another good workout opportunity.
4. Increase your intensity gradually
Old Me: My rest week is over, time to do 20x400m!
New Me: Gradual progression is how to avoid injury. There is a reason training plans start you off with strides, then short repetition workouts, then eventually true track and tempo runs. Doing too much too soon is an incredibly common yet easily avoided reason that injuries occur. Be mindful of what you’ve recently executed and don’t deviate too far from that when progressing workouts. No matter how many years you've been running, when coming back from a big race or injury you've got to increase your intensity gradually.
5. Choose your "A" races and "B" races wisely
Old Me: Run all the races!
New Me: Lately, I’ve likely volunteered at more local trail series events than I’ve raced. Something I learned was that racing (hard) too often can really put a damper on consistent training since frequent races at best effort require extra recovery afterward. If you have a big A race goal, focus on that. You can have tune-up races but be mindful of the exertion, frequency, and timing.
In the past, I would race as many local 5k events as possible. While these are not terribly long races for most people, they still do take a toll on our body. Something I work hard with in regards to my coached athletes is to stress that if they have a half or full marathon that they are training for, the smaller races are secondary.
Check out Kyle's article Why You Shouldn't Always Make Up Your Long Runs and his A Runners Life on our blog. Follow Kyle and his running adventures on his website (full of workouts and helpful training, and nutrition tips), Twitter , and Instagram @kyle_j_kranz.