Performance Principles and Commitments

Principles and Guidelines

Principles are fundamental truths that will always apply.  Align yourself with proven principles, and good results will ultimately follow.  Consistently violate principles and negative consequence almost always occur.

Guidelines are instructions that help actions align with principles.

  1. The primary element of improvement is persistence. 
    1. Consistent training, week to week, month to month, and year to year will always lead to better results than short phases of hard training.
    2. Violating the Principles that follow will interrupt consistency.
  2. Aerobic development is the primary objective of training for distance runners.
    1. Increasing aerobic capacity is gain by time spent running, not speed.  Aerobic development is gained through easy running.
    2. 80% to 95% of weekly mileage (depending on the phase of training) should be run at an easy, conversational pace.
    3. By doing most runs at an appropriately easy pace, total running volume can safely increase. 
  3. Aerobic strength provides the capability to use the aerobic system for performance.
    1. Aerobic strength is gained by doing quality sessions and paced miles.
    2. Runners should understand the benefit focus of each workout and stay at or near the target paces.
    3. Don’t overinvest in single workouts.  It is the sum of all aerobic strength work completed that provides results, not individual workouts. 
  4. Runners develop best when following a plan aligned with a primary goal.
    1. A well-constructed plan incorporates principles 2 and 3 to provide optimal opportunity for improvement.
    2. Non-target races are important as a part of a plan, but only if those races support the primary goal.  Non-target races provide opportunities to assess progress, practice race strategy, and improve how runners deal with the stress of racing.
    3. By following a plan, runners can more easily assess why specific results (whether good or bad) occur, and use this knowledge effectively.
    4. Consistently deviating from a plan will lead to suboptimal results.
  5. Mental training is as important as physical training.
    1. Most runners place limits on themselves that are not real.
    2. Positive thinking must be practiced constantly to overcome self-imposed limitations.
    3. Great performance requires concentration.  Concentration must be developed during quality workouts.
  6. Keeping your body healthy requires an investment.
    1. Some form of running-specific flexibility (active isolated stretching, yoga, dynamic drills) work should be done daily.
    2. Running-specific strength work should be done twice weekly.  Core strength work should be included, and done more often if possible
    3. These activities can be done without adding training time.  For example, this work is easy to do while watching TV.
  7. Recovery is a part of training. 
    1. Runs on days after quality and long runs should be especially easy.
    2. Never do quality or long runs on back-to-back days.  Most runners need at least 2 days between harder efforts.
    3. Sleep and nutrition are important for proper recovery.
    4. Runners should recover fully between training cycles.  A break provides physical, mental and emotional renewal.