We all know as runners that we cannot push our body to the breaking point every day and expect it to respond well. In fact when we continually push too hard we are rewarded not with the PRs we so desire, but with exhaustion and injury. So then how do we find the right balance to allow ourselves to grow as runners while still taking care of our bodies?
By putting the Easy/Hard Principle of Running into place. This principle basically states what we all already know, but sometimes are too stubborn to admit – you cannot go hard day after day. Instead the Easy/Hard Principle of Running tells us that after each hard effort day we must let our bodies recover with an easier effort day. We are in essence tearing our body down and then building it back up and allowing it to recover day by day in order to keep it in the best possible shape – happy, healthy, well rested, and injury free.
The Easy/Hard Principle of Running is basically a repetitive cycle where in each week you should only have 3 really hard workout days (any more than that puts too much stress on your body) and each of those hard days should in turn be followed by an easier day where your body is still training and moving, but able to recover a bit from the previous day’s hard effort. The seventh and final day should be your recovery/rest day because every body needs time off to heal. This Easy/Hard Principle of Running continue repeating week after week as a cycle. To plan my weekly training schedule I personally start of by planning in my rest day. I come home after a long week of work on Friday and am just exhausted. The truth is that any type of workout is the last thing on my mind that day. Because of that, the first thing I do is fill my Friday recovery day in on the Easy/Hard cycle. (see above) You can start by filling in your recovery day or maybe even selecting one of the hard days and writing your normal long run day down, whatever is your number one scheduling priority. I personally know I won’t get jack done on Friday so I start there. Then, after I have my Friday rest and recovery day filled in I move around the circle clockwise filling in the rest of the days of the week in order. By the time I am done I have my whole week laid out and the Easy/Hard Principle of Running put into place on a loop for week after week. (see above) Time for you to do the same and move clockwise from the one day you filled in until your whole week is set up.
Then, once the days of the week are all set up it is time to begin filling in the workouts that will go on each of the three easy days and each of the three hard days. There are many more examples than those that are listed below, but here are a few ideas to get you started. As a general rule if a workout gets your heart rate way up, you cannot hold a normal conversation while doing it, or it is an especially long workout (i.e.. long run) it should be counted as a hard day. Now it is time for you to fill your workouts in for both your easy and hard days.
Let me know –
Do you practice the Easy/Hard Principle of Running?
Did you like this activity?
Is run coaching advice something you find valuable?