Some unbelievable achievements have been happening in the UK by athletes like Damian Hall, John Kelly, Beth Pascal, and Katie Caars just to name a few. But we must remind ourselves that these endurance athletes have been training a lot (over 10 years) and their bodies are ready to be pushed to achieve better results at the right time and correct rate of progression. And of course, we all get inspired by top athletes and have tried to train like them.
For training to be successful it must be consistent, it also has to be progressive. To achieve consistency; injury, illness, and burnout must be avoided. To build progressively you need to load the body without tipping it over the edge, this may mean additional miles, intensity, or elevation gain. To allow progression to continue you also need recovery which is often overlooked and hard to fit into busy lives.
One of my key principles as a coach is that specific consistency really is the key, week on week, year on year. There are many ingredients that make up training, from endurance, speed work, hill intervals, strength, cross training, stretching, recovery and active recovery. Each of these play a part in building an athlete and must be applied at the right time with the correct volume. Training aspects must also be specific to the individual and goal event. To achieve consistency training must fit in realistically with the time the athlete has available.
Progression in training is part of developing you the runner. Progression stresses the body and followed but adequate well-timed rest will allow for adaptations that will make you fitter. These adaptations may be in endurance, strength or speed, they will allow you to complete your race or event, they may allow you to run a PB or ascend faster than before. Progression takes time and focus, you have to remain committed and patient. Loading and recovery work together and neither component can be overlooked or neglected.
Consistent progression with adequate rest, built around the time available to train, your specific training intensities and goals is all part of building an athlete and achieving your dreams. This is all part of a process, trust and enjoy the journey.