Pro runners don’t care about their weekly mileage. Lifting your weekly mileage by extending the duration of your runs or adding a weekly run could be ruining your chance of a new PB.
If you’re out there training without a structured plan, adding more Kms onto your weekly schedule is the LAST option on your list of ways to improve your fitness and speed. Running your next PB can be as easy as adding a couple of quality race-specific workouts to a structured training plan.
While pro runners are definitely running more than you, they aren’t chasing quantity, they are chasing QUALITY. A pro runners’ training program is centred around targeted quality workouts. If a pro runner is tired the day before a quality workout, they may rest or significantly reduce their effort in their training for that day.
Googling “Half marathon workout” or replicating a workout you’ve seen on social media is not adding quality to your training.
Your quality workouts must fit into a plan that is designed to build toward your targeted event or goal. I.e. stronger hill runner, build base fitness, sub 24hr ultramarathon.
Pro runners aren’t heading out the door thinking, “what should I do today?” and neither should you.
Here’s how to add quality to your training for your next running PB
Add Your Measuring Stick
Draw a line in the sand for when you want to measure your improvement. You are not a pro runner. You’ve got a lot on your plate, so your training performances will vary week to week. Setting a measuring point 4 - 6 weeks in the future will give you time to improve and avoid getting stressed when one week doesn’t go well. Your measuring stick should align with your training target. If you’ve been working on base fitness, there’s no point running an all-out 1km. You’re better off doing a standard time or distance at a fixed HR.
Build Your Skeleton Plan
Working backwards from your measuring stick, start adding training days as EASY, LONG, QUALITY, and OPTIONAL. BUSY and REST are the other variables you need to add. Runners plan to run six days a week with two quality workouts when their life schedule would never allow it. BE HONEST.
I recommend setting a base number of no negotiable running days and one optional or bonus day, which can be removed or moved based on energy and time.