Developing a Training Plan Part IV: Lifestyle - Page 2
The Fourth Corner Piece: Lifestyle
An elite runner’s daily life often revolves around a routine schedule: eat, sleep, run and repeat. Incorporating a structured approach like this into your own training will not only provide more purposed training, but will also lead to enhanced performance.
As repetitive—and potentially boring—as this elite-runner lifestyle might sound, eating, sleeping and running are arguably the most important elements of training and the commitment extended to those areas often dictates progression and therefore success. Realistically, though, not everyone has the same amount of time, energy and money for training, so it’s important to balance what is important to you independent of running with your training.
Like anything else, if you want to do well at something, like running, you must be committed to working hard and making decisions that reflect your goals. For example, my client Tanya is not a morning person. However, she lives in Arizona where temperatures this time of year average well over 100 degrees. The coolest time of day is between 4 and 5 a.m. She’s training for a marathon and wants to run a PR (personal record) this fall and knows that there is no way she can efficiently complete her workouts in the heat of the day. So she forces herself to get up at 4 a.m. because she’s committed to seeing the clock at the finish line read well under 3:50.
Simply setting an alarm for 4:30 a.m. won't always get you out the door. Recruiting friends to consistently run with is a great way to remain accountable to yourself, your training and your running partners. Creating an environment that is conducive to and supportive of your training greatly increases the likelihood that you’ll follow through with your daily training plan. Additionally, surround yourself with like-minded people who have accomplished similar goals. Consider joining a running club, or hiring a running coach for both support and training advice.
What we do when we’re not running can have a major impact on our performance. That’s why adopting a lifestyle that is conducive to your training plan is so important. Your goal should be to maintain a healthy balance between managing your running and recreation (exertion) with eating and sleeping (recovery).
I encourage my clients to establish short- and long-term goals for a given training period. Having goals gives your training purpose and direction. Furthermore, when faced with opportunities that could affect training, I challenge my clients to ask themselves: “Is this going to contribute to or interfere with my goals?” I’m not necessarily advocating that your life revolve around running, but when you are in pursuit of something you value (a successful race finish for example), questioning your actions will make you a wiser contributor to your training investment.
In addition to working a full-time job and training for an ultramarathon, my client Jeanne also participates in Pure Barre, yoga and tennis and deejays for private parties. If she were to implement even half of these activities everyday, she would soon find herself literally sick and tired, performing marginally (if at all!) at any of her favorite activities. Thus, we work together to divide her daily time primarily between work and running and then add classes and gigs each week when she has the time and energy. Your energy level is limited, so manage it wisely to consistently run well.