Whether you run for health, sanity, or community, you will gain all three as gifts from the oldest sport in the world, running. You may be on this page because you’re having a hard time staying consistent in the sport. This article will help you learn how to succeed at consistency in running.
The coolest thing about running is your ability to take ownership over how much you do and when you do it. This article includes a list of things all runners should consider regardless of current fitness.
This topic is very important. Consistency is the key to success in distance running, so read on to improve your ability to stay engaged in the sport.
RELATED: Recently on the A to Z Running Podcast (ep 38) we spoke with Team USA Racewalker John Cody Risch about momentum. This is a topic very important to the success of runners everywhere even at the highest level of competition.
You didn’t hear it here first, but this is the place we must start. Recognizing what metaphorical hurdles you will face can help you recognize them and get over them.
- Do you start out blazing and get burnout?
- Solution: Have patience at the beginning.
- Do you get bored?
- Solution: Plan ahead with running buddies or destinations.
- Do you try to jump in at an expert level of activities when you are a beginner?
- Give yourself time to build to your own expectations.
- Do you lack the discipline to get in the groove of a new activity?
- Use a plan and accountability to avoid giving up.
Most of us have a pattern and we tilt toward yes on at least one of these questions above. You will only last in this sport if you know yourself and your tendencies. When deciding how you will make your attempt and how quickly to move forward, this will help you “pace yourself” not only in your actual pace, but also with the volume you decide to do.
Reflect on other things in your life that you have done well. Pat yourself on the back. Analyze what you did right, and apply it to this running.
To read more about how I have navigated my thinking about running, continue here.
Invest in the right gear.
It’s hard to stay consistent if you’re struggling with poor footwear and chaffing.
(A full list of our gear suggestions can be viewed here. Disclosure: we may receive a small commission if you purchase through the links.)
The simple essentials:
- Shoes- If possible, get fit for shoes or talk to a running store over the phone to order the correct ones. We recommend Gazelle Sports and Striders in West Michigan. There are the shoes that Zach and I wear. ZACH ANDI
- Running socks- It would be sad to miss consistency for a blister. Do not underestimate how bad a blister can hurt. These are my favorite.
- Moisture wicking shirt or tank- You can wear cotton, but it is not recommended. Chafing is not fun. Let me spare you the agony.
- Running shorts, tights, or sport’s shorts- For the same reason listed above.
- A comfortable sports bra.
Go back to the basics.
It seems simple, put one foot in front of the other, but to feel “right” and prevent injury, there are a few things to be aware of. Please don’t be intimidated by this, get out and do your thing . Here are a few very simple objectives for running form that we have included here. If running feels weird at first, it’s ok. With everything new, it will come with time and experience. Here is a brief video from form expert Dave Hodgkinson. Dave also shares valuable form insight on our podcast for an episode called Run Faster without Trying Harder.
Don’t Overdo it
Like I mentioned in the beginning, everyone comes from a different fitness level. You may be one who does cardio daily. You feel like you should be out running with your friends who are going 4-5 miles a day. My recommendation, don’t do that. Just because you can, doesn’t mean that you should. Running is highly repetitive so jumping in doing too much will likely result in injury and burnout. Start with running a few minutes and walking a few minutes. Grow the amount of minutes running while decreasing the amount of walking until you are running continuously.
I have a friend who is faster than me. If I schedule this day as an easy day, I overdo it. I have to schedule days with her as my moderate effort days.
When you’re leveling up:
It’s hard not to overdo it when big goals are in our sights. I have recently “leveled up” in my running and it’s hard not to think I need to run mileage too fast. Runners are often driven and competitive. Relaxing on the easy runs will help the runner who may otherwise try to grind hard every day.
We struggle with lies that can keep us from consistency. We can overdo things early on that make us timid to give more later. I wrote a guest post for The Mother Runners about how I battled these lies and ran only 60 mile weeks to qualify for the Olympic Trials Marathon.
Coming back from injury:
Holding back is difficult for the runner. Patience can really wear off if there is time off required, and then easing back in. Don’t overdo the beginning of your comeback. Take it slow. Supplement with cross training if you feel antsy. Focus on strength and mobility.
Check your foundations.
Consistency in all 3 of the foundations of running will make you successful in the sport.
We spoke about the first, aerobic conditioning, on this week’s podcast episode 39 of the A to Z Running Podcast. Stay tuned for the other two! This article will be updated as we reveal the other two foundations.
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