So what are the key benefits of running consistently? And why is consistency so important when you want to become a better runner?
Well, consistency is something that I think is key to improving as a runner.
I can remember talking to my team in my hair salon. And one of the sayings we used to have is if you’re going to be drunk, be drunk every day.
Now, of course, that does not mean everybody was drunk if you walked into my hair salon.
As funny as that saying was in my salon, you can weirdly relate it to running in that, sudden changes in the running routine. For example, one week running 5 days the following week two days and with no plan or structure.
It can impact the results you get and increase the risk of injuries that in themselves rob you of consistency of running.
So let’s look at the five key benefits of running consistently.
1. Gain More Stamina.
If you run more consistently, you will increase your stamina because your body adapts to running. Because of that, you will improve your stamina.
Now, of course, there is a caveat here. You’ve got to make sure that you are running at a level that gives you some resistance so that you increase your stamina. However, you’re not running so many days that you’re leaving yourself more likely to incur an injury.
So begin small if you’re new to running and be consistent. And you will find that if, for example, you can only run for 10 minutes, that if you’re running two times a week, that that will soon increase from 10 minutes to 15 minutes.
Hence, increases in stamina aren’t always about people being able to run a marathon. It may be that the increase in stamina comes from being able to run five minutes and then 10 minutes.
So the consistency is critical. At whatever level you’re at.
2.Decrease Injury Risk.
Consistency will decrease your injury risk. Now, as I’ve mentioned, consistency is not about overrunning. It’s just about showing up in a consistent state.
And if you do that, your body will adapt to that routine. When your body knows what’s going to happen or has a good idea of what will happen. It’s very much more likely that you will avoid unnecessary injuries.
3.Improved Race Performance.
If you are aiming for a race, then consistency has to be a key asset. Not perfection. There will be runs that will get missed or have to be moved for any training block because very few of us have the time of a professional athlete.
However, I meet so many runners with running goals or race goals that they haven’t hit. And when you talk to them, their training has been very, very inconsistent.
So consistency will really help you reach your running goals with better race performance.
You will have a better routine. Now, this might sound pretty obvious if you’re consistent. You’ve got a routine. But I always say this almost paradoxical aspect of running as a coach, where runners will practically do anything to avoid routine while craving it.
So it can be very paradoxical, and consistency gets you into a routine where you often don’t actually have to think about your running so much. So it takes up a lot less mental brandwidth.
Many runners are thinking about going for a run; sometimes, this takes up more mental bandwidth than if they actually just went out for the run.
And that consistency creates that routine, where you are much more into a groove of your running.
5.Increased Pride And Satisfaction.
This aspect is actually very much connected to routine. But pride and satisfaction that are consistent, not perfect, but consistent with their running genuinely have pride and satisfaction in their running.
Whereas less consistent runners seem to be less happy with their running.
They’re often saying, oh, I should get out more. I should be doing this.
There seems to be an internal conflict between what they should be doing and what they’re actually doing.
When you meet runners that have consistency in their running, they’re much happier with their running generally, and they have pride in it as well.
3 Ways How To Begin To Run Consistently.
So how do you actually begin to run more consistently?
I have three key steps that I look at when I’m coaching people to run more consistently.
1. Why Do You Want To Run In The First Place?
So why do you want to run? What is the real driver that will get you up and out running? That is a very crucial question that some runners really struggle to actually answer.
Having a strong why when things aren’t going so well is the aspect within yourself that will quite get you up running when you perhaps don’t feel like it and is a crucial contributor to a runner being a more consistent runner.
2. How Do You Do Your Running?
So what’s the routine? What’s the structure that is going to support you to become a more consistent runner?
You might say, well, I go on the internet and get a plan, and that is the start. But what I say to runners is a running plan is a map. It’s not the territory. It’s literally instructions.
However, there is more to running than having a map; for example, What’s your support network like? This is why I find coaching so beneficial to myself, even though I’m a coach myself. I have a running coach. And I see the benefits for runners because you have someone that’s not only looking at that plan and adapting that plan as you progress. There is there to hold your goals for you and encourage you.
Now, if running coaching is either out of your reach financially or it’s not something you want to do. I would suggest making sure that you have a strong support network, be it a running club or a forum that can be utilised with your running plan, to get the support you need to increase your chances of being consistent.
3.What Is It That You Want?
And finally, what is it that you want?
You might say, well, this is connected with my why, but I would suggest subtly different.
This is more about your short, medium, and long-term goals for running that you can put in front of you to motivate you to get out there and run.
I’ve seen this an awful lot with coaching clients post COVID. Many had got very demotivated because there were no races to look forward to during the pandemic.
So you can see that having something in front of you to motivate you can be very powerful. It doesn’t always have to be a race. It could be that you want to increase your stamina to run for 20 minutes instead of 15 minutes, or it may be a goal to run a faster mile or a faster 5k.
Whatever it is, having that goal in front of you can be a potent motivator to stay honest and consistent with your running.