How to Be a Better Runner

How to be a better Runner…

How to be a better runner

Stay consistent and track your progress!

Both concepts are fairly obvious. If you stay consistent in anything you will eventually improve.  Nothing in life is linear, and training is never an exception.

success progress photo

You could be working your butt off and see absolutely no progress.  Don’t worry, I’ve been there, and my training hit a plateau last summer and again in November and December. Those months were the hardest not to give up.  It felt as if I was working hard but had nothing to show for it.  I was putting in the time, mileage and recovery and not seeing improvements.

I consistently trained through the plateau.  It’s easier to run when you are doing well, and everything seems awesome.  It’s much harder to stay consistent when training is not going your way.  The less consistent you are, the fewer results you see, and you begin a downward spiral.  It’s important to stay consistent through both periods of good and bad training.

The second part is it’s important to track your progress.  With anything in life, we often forget what we don’t write down.  By tracking your progress, you’re able to look back at training six months from now.  You can see what worked and what didn’t.  You can see “was I really consistent”?

Do I remember what I ran February 3, 2015?  Of course, not but now I can look back and see I ran eight easy miles.

Tracking your workouts is one of the single biggest ways to improve.  You know your actual mileage and actual fitness level.  It’s something you need to know to improve.  You cannot improve if you don’t know where your starting point is.  By tracking your mileage, you can begin that process.

The importance of tracking your mileage does not just include distance. It includes the minor details such as:

  • How did I feel mentally or emotionally?
  • Did I have any aches and pains while running?
  • Are there any trends with how I feel after a workout? (For instance, if you are sore for six workouts in a row, there is probably an issue)
  • Do you excel in particular weather? Do you excel after you’ve eaten a particular food?

Other blogging challenges I’ve written about:
One Mistake I’m Glad I made
Why Training for Shorter Distances Will Make You Better at Longer Ones
Deep Tissue Massages
Steps to Increase Mileage and Stay Injury Free

Tweet: How to be a Better Runner Via @fueledbyLOLZ

Questions for you:
Do you track your progress?
How do you stay consistent when you have hit a plateau?

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  1. I track my mileage on DailyMile and also that lets me record my cross training and track shoe miles, which I really like. It surprises me how many runners- including ones who are fairly competitive at the local level- do not know how many miles per week they average, or do not even write their runs down somewhere to track training, know if they are improving, etc. I don’t really monitor/track the times of my easy runs (easy pace always varies from day to day… easy the day after a half marathon is going to be way slower than easy the day after a rest day) but I do log how long they were and any thoughts.

    I have been through tons of plateaus and even seen my times drop before. You just have to keep going and be consistent… I think the consistency is what so many people miss.

  2. I love to look back at my progress when I get discouraged. I like to see how far I’ve come because sometimes it’s hard to remember that when the progress is slow and you don’t see big gains at one time!

  3. How do you track your progress? I’ve always wanted to journal about them but I’ll do it for like, 3 days, and then stop because I forget. I use my Garmin but not when I run on the treadmill.

    I guess one of my February goals will be to better track how I’m feeling, distance, pace, all that good stuff!

    1. I like to use Microsoft excel to track workouts. It does take remembering to record the workout but I’m normally on my computer once a day and can do that,

  4. now that i track my progress i couldnt agree with this post more! right now i feel like its one issue after another but keeping track of those issues and how i deal with them will be good in the long run.

  5. I love tracking my progress! It makes it so easy to remember little details about a run just simply by writing them down/tracking it. I think it’s one of the best habits I’ve gotten into is recording everything. I agree with this whole post completely!

  6. This is such a good reminder, thank you! I write everything down, thank goodness, because yesterday I did a tempo run and I was so discouraged that I couldn’t keep my pace below 6:40. But then I went back and checked what I did before Christmas and my tempo pace was closer to 6:50. So, yeah! I’m getting there. Great post!

    1. That’s how I am with my workouts too. I look back and I can see I’m making progress.

  7. I have been tracking in daily mile for years but also for races create excels with my plans and then document the actual workout vs scheduled. Definitely helps. I was doing 400’s a couple weeks ago and finished the workout thinking hmm easier than it should have been. That’s because I messed up my goal paces. Note always look at what you did previous workout.

  8. In my running log, I also track hours of sleep and servings of water. Those little things matter!

  9. Yes!! Consistency and tracking are the two things that have really amped up my progress. I keep a very detailed log in my Believe journal. It’s done wonders. My training haven’t always been perfect but I’ve remained steady at it!

  10. I find that even if I don’t look back at my training log, it helps to write it down (type it out) and know I can reference it, especially during a plateau or after a PR. I couldn’t agree more with everything you said!!

  11. I keep track of everything so I can notice progress and failures. If I hit a plateau I usually try to take a few days off, rest and regroup.

  12. I have always tracked my workout. Even back in high school. I liked being able to see what worked better.

  13. In my opinion, consistency is the number one ingredient to success with almost anything. Unfortunately it’s one of my biggest struggles! Recording my progress definitely helps a lot with this, although I don’t have one system that I use to track my workouts.

    When I first started running, I would post a simple running log right in front of the treadmill where I could see it at all times. I only tracked my distance, but watching the number of miles I could run grow week after week was awesome! Sometimes the simplest tools work best. : )

  14. I am big on tracking progress but I rarely look back at it, which is pretty funny considering how much effort I put into tracking everything!!!

    I’ve always been very consistent with running, with the exception of my recent pregnancy. It definitely makes a difference! I love your advice about keeping it up even during plateaus – that is what helps you break through them!

  15. For the past few years I was using Dailymile but it isn’t so easy to flip back and see your training on a computer so this year I switched back to a running journal (you know – with paper and pen). I can log everything (run, workout, cycling etc.) and I keep a tally of my running miles. I find it easier than using the computer and I can add comments easily. Also I don’t need Internet access, I just have to remember where I put the journal.

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