Ask any professional runner what their key to success is and they will probably say consistency has something to do with it. It doesn’t matter if you’re naturally born with a talent for running, you still need to train consistently to develop fitness and hone your form. Professional runners understand this. I’ve struggled with consistency in the past but have overcome it now so in this article I will be sharing thoughts on the importance of consistency for running success.
What is consistency?
Consistency means constantly adhering to the same principles, a course of action and behaviours. It means acting in a certain, deliberate way time and time again to achieve results.
A consistent runner may plan to work out five times a week and cover 20 miles. For a couple of weeks, they will repeat this workout pattern and gradually increase their mileage to improve their performance. This is a consistent runner because a routine has been established and the same actions are being repeated in a predictable manner.
On the other hand, inconsistent runners tend not to follow a set training regime. They run when they feel like it. One week they will run 8 miles in 2 runs and the next week 30 miles in 7 runs. Simply put, there is no pattern or predictable nature to their training regime.
If you’re like me, you will probably be familiar with the concept of an inconsistent runner. When I started running, I had no plan in place and simply ran whenever I felt like it and usually for totally random distances.
How do you become a consistent runner?
To become a consistent runner, you must plan your training ahead of time and stick to it. No matter what. It’s as simple as that. At the start of each month plan of how many times a week you will run, where you will run and how many miles you aim to cover.
In month one you could aim to run 12 miles a week across 4 runs (on pre-determined days) before upping the weekly distance to 16 miles a week across 5 runs in month two. Consistency depends on establishing a regular running routine and sticking to it. No matter what.
When I started running, I had no clue what I was doing, and I suffered from injuries, physical fatigue and slow race times. Fast forward a year or so to my consistent training and I’m now getting some incredible race times. I believe planning my workouts and following them consistently has been instrumental to my success.
I would recommend anyone to be a consistent runner. It’s hard to start with, who wants to run on cold and rainy days after all? It doesn’t matter what was outside or how I was feeling, I committed to being consistent and regular in my training. It certainly paid off.
Building the ‘performance wall’
To get you in the mindset of changing your running routine so that it is consistent, picture a brick wall. I call it the ‘performance wall’. Each run you complete on a consistent basis adds a brick to the wall. Eventually, you will have built it very high and this will be reflected by a huge increase in your performance. Therefore, I call it the performance wall.
However, every time you skip a planned workout or run in a bizarre fashion than what you normally do then a brick falls out. If enough bricks are removed the wall of performance will crumble and your result will reflect this. Run consistently and keep adding bricks to the performance wall.
What are the benefits of being a consistent runner?
I remember watching a documentary with the Brownlee Brother’s and they said the most important thing which separates high performing sports people from the rest is consistency in training. Showing up and following a pre-decided plan no matter what the weather is like or how tired the individual feels.
Imagine if you ran 30 miles one week and then 3 miles the next week. Most of the progress you made in your physical fitness would have been lost in the second week. The low mileage would counteract the long distances done in week one and your fitness would go down severely. Instead, focusing on a regular and consistent training schedule properly conditions the body for running and you will see huge progress. Here are some of the benefits of being a consistent runner.
1. Improved fitness
When you run consistently, you’ll notice a huge improvement in your physical fitness. Because your body gets used to regular workouts it conditions itself accordingly. As a result, you will feel great in your everyday life and will have more energy for important things like work, children, a spouse and so on. Be a consistent runner to build your physical fitness.
2. Better race performance
Every runner love smashing their personal best. There’s no greater sensation than beating a past record you set for yourself, revealing that it is possible for you to achieve faster times. When you run regularly, your endurance improves, and you can run faster for longer periods of time. This equals faster race times. Faster race times is a huge motivator for any runner, and they serve as tangible proof that consistent training equals better performance. Be consistent achieve better race performance.
3. Building a killer daily routine
‘The secret of your future is hidden in your daily routine‘ Mike Murdock
Our daily routines dictate what we do with our lives. The same things we repeat, day in day out. Building a solid daily routine is key for success in all areas of our lives. Ask any successful athlete, businessmen, media personality or actor and they will tell you a strong daily routine is crucial.
Adopting a consistent running regime will help you build a killer daily routine. Personally, I wake up every day at 6:00 AM and go for my run. The run wakes me up, gets blood flowing and sets me up for the day. It’s a fundamental part of my everyday life and without it, I’d feel sluggish and unmotivated.
Make your running a consistent part of your life and soon enough it will be instrumental in a successful daily routine.
4. Self- discipline
Perhaps the greatest obstacle in the way of anybody achieving success. Self-discipline. Doing something even though you really don’t want to. Having the courage to keep going even though you are uninspired. Not letting yourself off the hook because things are getting difficult. Developing consistent running habits means building self-discipline.
Being a consistent runner means you follow a plan, no matter what. Whether it’s hot, raining, sleeting or you simply don’t feel like it, you will run anyway. A consistent running regime builds self-discipline and this trait crosses over to other aspects of your life. Before you know it, you’ll be able to do the things you don’t want to do to achieve what you want to achieve easier than before. Be a consistent runner to build your self-discipline.
It may come as a surprise, but a great sense of pride and achievement comes from being a consistent runner. The knowledge you’re following an established training regime to achieve better race performance is reassuring. Knowing you’re doing what you need to do to become a better version of yourself.
Ever had the feeling of guilt when you procrastinate by looking on social media or watching a Netflix show when you know you should be studying or exercising? When you’re a consistent runner you won’t get this guilt because you will run no matter what.
A tremendous sense of satisfaction awaits those who follow a regular training schedule. Give it a try and see what you think.
There you have it. My take on why consistency is so important for running success. If this post was helpful and interesting, feel free to share it with your running buddies and see what they think! Until next time, happy running.