In my last post
, I described why mere mortals such as you and I should not strive to train like an elite runner. This time, I want to explain why there are some cases and ways that you should train like elite!
We are lucky enough to live in a time when almost the entire world is connected via the internet, and ideas can be shared with a huge audience in real-time. Tools such as YouTube, Twitter, and Instagram allow coaches and professional athletes to give fans a glimpse into the training. As such, I follow many elite runners and their coaches on these websites. One thing stands out to me above anything else: most professional runners do more than just run. They do core work, they lift weights, they do form drills or take yoga. But they don’t do these things just because they want a change of scenery. They do these specifically to enable them to run better.
Many people, including very good runners, believe that doing any supplemental training is counter-productive, since you could be using that time to run. It is true that running more is almost always a good idea. However, running more is also a great way to get injured. How do you prevent injuries? By making sure your body is A) working efficiently and correctly, and B) able to withstand the rigors of training.
Suppose your current training ceiling is 50 miles per week. Any more than that and you tend to get injured. Why is this? It’s because there are issues that are negligible under 50mpw that surface as you run more on more fatigued legs. Maybe it’s an overpronation, or a weak core, or a leg length discrepancy. By strengthening, stretching, and doing form drills, you can alleviate or even correct this issue, and increase your ceiling to 70mpw. Now you can run more and get more fit without getting injured. That is the benefit of supplemental training.
This how you should aspire to train like elites. Don’t get caught in the belief that all you should do is run. Take a cue from the professionals and spend some time working on your strength or your flexibility. Running mile after mile overworks the same muscles and tends to deactivate others, so by targeting those muscles, you can alleviate the tightness in your overused and the weakness in your underused muscles. You will set yourself up to be more resistant to injury, and therefore faster!
Here a few example that I have found recently that illustrate how professional runners do more than “just run, baby!”