Top Golden rules. 1. Add distance before pace.

I thought it was time I started to go through my Top Golden Rules for improving your running and staying uninjured. The first rule is the most important, probably the most overlooked and  the one that if you get it wrong can do the most damage. A good foundation is pivotal to running success and this means starting slowly and building up distance week by week before you add pace. Everybody has a starting point, be it a 100m walk in the park that turns into a 200m the next day or a 10k recovery run after an injury which then becomes a 11k in a few days time. It’s all about a slowly, slowly approach. There is the old adage you shouldn’t add more than 10% a week but I feel this has become a bit ‘old school’ and it’s more important to build up by feel.

Get this stage right and good foundations, like in so many environments can be built on them without the whole lot falling down. So, slowly, slowly; build up the distance until you are happy and confident enough to add some pace. This will be different for each individual and there’s no distance or time period that I can offer really. I will say it’s probably impossible to do too much, slowly. Where as it is certainly possible to go too fast too early, resulting in an injury.

One of my favourite authors Matt Fitzgerald advocate the 80%/20% rule which translates as 80% easy running, 20% at pace. I try to follow this split myself most weeks and it seems to work. The 80% easy is a lot ‘easier’ on the body and also , I find, more relaxing and enjoyable as you are running to feel not your Garmin GPS watch. Initially the 20% at pace doesn’t need to be that quicker than your normal pace but something to get the heart beating a little harder. Over time pace will come.

That’s a lot of typing, time for a photo. This one is by one of my favourite Perth Photographers and runner Paul Harrison. Very talented. This photo is of the view from Matilda Bay as you run towards Perth,  a run I’m lucky enough to do once or twice a week minimum.

Matilda Bay looking towards Perth. One of my favourite runs. Photo by Paul Harrison.
Matilda Bay looking towards Perth. One of my favourite runs. Photo by Paul Harrison.