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How do I achieve more consistent runs?

May 22, 2019

BY JANET HAMILTON, MA, RCEP, CSCS

Hi. I'm a 48 year old male and have been running for a number of years. Three times a week, I run six miles on a treadmill at about a 7:45 min/mile pace. After I run, I do a variety of weights, core, and body weight exercises. For the past six or seven months, my runs have been inconsistent. Some days I can fly through the miles with energy to spare, while others I can make it only three or four miles. That never used to be a problem for me. What can I do to get more consistently good runs?  Thanks - Jeff

Reply - Coach Janet

I'm probably going to come up with more questions than answers here...  First of all it's impossible to know based on only your age and the fact that you've been running for "a number of years" if the 7:45 pace is appropriate for your current fitness level.  Most runners, left to their own devices, run all their runs at an inappropriately fast pace -- somewhere around "threshold" or "comfortably hard" pace.  If you have a recent 5k race time to share I might be able to help determine if the 7:45 is appropriate.  Based on your comments, I suspect it is too fast for your current fitness level.  Second - why are you doing all your running at the same pace and on a treadmill?  Is it just not safe to run on real terrain where you are? If at all possible, you'll get a lot more out of a run that takes place on real terrain rather than on a treadmill.  There is no way to simulate "real" running on a treadmill... it's a necessary substitute when the weather is awful, but it is not ideal.  When looking at your training to determine the source of the inconsistency, look at: sleep patterns, work stress, nutritional and hydration issues... take a big picture view and see if you can identify and correlate.   I recommend you vary your distance and your pace a little and see if the variety helps refresh you and do what you can to get outside!  Good luck - let me know if I can be of assistance with more specific guidance.   Janet Hamilton, MA, RCEP, CSCS, USATF-level 1, RRCA certified coach

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