Most people that know me realise that when it comes to distance running and training, I can talk for hours! From the long run, tempos and interval training to the famous coaching principles of Stampfl, Lyddiard, Clohessy, Telford and Wardlaw, I have learned a lot over the years. However there is one principle I believe to be the most important.
That is the rule of Hard Days then Easy Days
The Hard/Easy Principle simply means if one day you have a run or jog that is hard, then the next day must be an easy or recovery based activity.
Why? Do you ask
When we run, we give our body a “stress” which takes a certain time to recover from and repair affected tissues. The amount of recovery time needed is largely dependent on the amount of stress placed on our body. Larger stresses need larger amounts of recovery time. After this recovery time the body has a time of “supercompensation”. In other words, the body has adapted to a point where it is better able to perform the activity….. its called “getting fitter”!
What if we don’t?
One thing you should remember: Running is a contact sport. We exhibit forces on our lower limbs of 3-4 times our own body weight repeated between 600 and 1,000 times per km.
Easily put, if we don’t allow our body to recover then we are not allowing our body to adapt to the training stress and improve. Furthermore, continual stressing of the body leads to further breakdowns of tissue and the increased risk of common overuse injuries such as muscle strains, tendon problems, and lower limb stress fractures.
So what makes a running session “Hard”?
A nice simple equation of (Distance x Effort)= (Amount of stress)
Distance (in running terms called Volume or Quantity)
Effort (in running terms called Intensity or Quality)
If either of these are high then it is safe to say that your running session is moderate to hard. Easier days are most definitely ones of low effort where the distance can be a short to moderate. Long slow runs can be easy but they usually move into a moderate load session due to the distance.
If you would like more information on this article or training for distance running, you can contact me at Body and Spine Solutions and we will get you moving better.