Remember when you first got interested in running? It seemed so simple, right? Lace up your shoes and go.
But then you started learning more about running and getting “all the things.” The questions started:
What shoes should I wear? What should my pace be? What should my heart rate be when I run? Am I a heel striker or a midfoot runner? Is my GPS watch tracking my pace, distance and elevation correctly? Is my cadence high enough? How many times per week should I run?
Those are all questions I have asked myself over the years plus many, many, many more in my running life. It can be overwhelming. It can be exhausting. It can feel like it’s a losing battle because you are never doing enough or doing it wrong according to all the supposed experts.
Running, and exercise in general, should not be complicated. It should not stress you out. More days than not, I like to keep it simple. Life is complicated enough. Running should not add to the complication.
I was chatting with a newer client who wanted to get back to exercise after some time away. She was all in and was ready to bust out of the gate full speed ahead. “What should my heart rate be?” What should my pace be? and a million other questions. I admired her excitement for getting back to exercise but I had to have her pump the brakes.
Keep it simple.
Let’s get you moving first. Let’s not worry about pace or striving for a target heart rate so she can get into the “fat burning zone” – which to be honest, opens up a whole new can of worms.
Movement will lead to more movement and that’s what we want.
The rules of running are quite simple – put one foot in front of the other. It’s something we were born to do. When did running become complex?
I’m completely guilty of making running more complicated. I want to run faster, further and overall be a better runner. I spend a lot of time reading about running and chatting with fellow friends who are runners. I love it and want to learn more about it. There’s nothing wrong with that.
On the flip side, I’ve been wrapped up in thinking more is better because this person on social media does it or because a book told me I needed to run this much or eat like this to achieve my goals. Making things more complicated usually resulted in a training plan that didn’t work for me, eating stuff I didn’t like and ultimately an injury. That’s not to say that every tidbit I pick up is bad. It maybe wasn’t the right one for me or a case of too much, too soon for my body. Every body is different. There is no one size fits all, even in running. Don’t get me started on all the studies about running. Most of them are on men so why are women following the same running “rules” as men? Contrary to some beliefs, women aren’t just smaller men.
Running is a billion dollar industry. There’s always something new coming out that will make us faster because who doesn’t what to be faster? I mean, look at the Nike Vaporfly. At your next road race, take a look at how many people are sporting the Vaporfly just because Eliud Kipchoge’s sub 2 hour marathon. Does the average runner need a $250 pair of shoes? Ummm…no.
So what do you do if you have running goals? Keep it simple.
Build up your weekly mileage slowly. Rome wasn’t built in a day, neither is your running fitness.
Don’t run the same distance or speed everyday. Have easy days and hard days.
Run by effort not a number that’s on your watch.
Strength train the whole body at least 2 times per week. Don’t think you have to be doing an elaborate, advanced routine. Keep it simple with exercises for all the major muscle groups of the body.
Because really, all you need in running is to just keep moving.
I don’t have the secret sauce to running. What I do know is that I don’t want runners to feel that running is complicated. I want to see more people running. To be honest, I just want to see more people being active.
Keep it simple and you’ll see improvements.
Trust the process and things will happen.