Part 2 - The 4 Necessities of Running

Welcome back for part 2 of our Necessities of Running

In Part 1 we discussed the importance of having the proper shoes for your specific combination of muscle tightness, joint mobility, joint stability, and coordination.

Now that you have the proper shoes, it's time to consider your plan. Having the motivation, determination, and desire is great, but how do you go from where you are now to where you want to be? When it comes to working with an injured runner, we often see a lack of proper programming or plan. It is easy to become excited and start to run 7 days a week, but is that the secret to success?

If you want to run pain free and reach your running goals, YOU NEED A PLAN.

When you run, do you have a purpose to your workout? This thought process is often overlooked, and can potentially be detrimental to your goals. Each time you run, you should be attempting to elicit a physiological response within your body. Your body feels and responds differently to a speed workout than a long run. If you want to run a 7-minute mile, you should not simply run 5 days a week at that pace. We highly recommend finding a coach who can create a plan for your specific goals and your running ability. In Boulder, we have an array of world-class running and triathlon coaches who can design a plan to safely help you reach your goals. We recently sat down with Eric Kenney from EK Endurance Coaching to talk about the importance of a plan in training and some common questions he gets about coaching.


What is a good amount of time to allow for a training plan? How long should I start training before my goal race?

The answer is always yesterday. A long, slow build up of training is always going to be better for the athlete and yield better results. I like my athletes to train year round with different objectives in their training and proper rest breaks built in to avoid burn out. An athlete should always be training but the flavor of the training changes.

Simply put, an athlete who trains 10 hours a week for a year is going to have a better race and have less risk for injury than an athlete who trains for 20 hours a week for 6 months leading into their goal race. All world-class performances come from adaptation built upon adaptation over the long haul, not half a year's worth of training.


How often do I need a training plan? Can I reuse last year’s training plan, as it helped me complete my marathon and/or ironman race?

A proper training plan should be about six weeks long. Six weeks is a good amount of time to allow for physiological adaptation (increasing ability) while also allowing for proper recovery and life stress. Longer plans tend to get away from the athlete's strengths and how they are adapting and changing.

I see athletes getting injured when they buy a stand-alone training plan that does not change with them.

Buying a stand-alone training plan can be a good option if you are simply looking to finish; however they’re not foolproof. The big problem I see with stand alone plans is they do not take into account the individual's strengths, weaknesses, their physiology, and the “real world factors” like meetings, work travel, life stress etc.

If an athlete who makes a lot of power but has trouble with endurance uses the same plan as someone who is efficient over a long race but has trouble making power, neither are going to reach their potential. In fact, both might feel great in training sessions but end up with a terrible race because the plan did not properly prepare them for the race.


What are some common mistakes you see in a new runner?

Most new runners have a fundamental flaw in their training. Their training is Goal Based vs Physiology Based.

Running and racing is often looked at from a time goal standpoint- “I want to run a 3:30:00 marathon or a 22:00 5K”. They then calculate the pace they would need to run to accomplish that goal instead of focusing on what their current capabilities are and how they can use science to reach their goals.

The other thing I see very frequently is not having enough polarization in their training.

They don’t go hard enough on hard days and don’t go slow enough on their slow days. This again, goes back to not knowing their current physiologic capabilities or what their body can do now and what their training zones should be to create the change they want.



What are some common mistakes you see with advanced runners or triathletes, who have completed a few races and have now decided to get more serious about training?

Again, people are focused on completion and not execution. I commonly see advanced athletes focus on seeing how tired they can make themselves or how many miles they can put in. I have to focus them on doing things right (more workouts focused on form and focus on executing the plan) and using science to create the change they ultimately want.

The other thing I see with advanced athletes is failing to have a race plan or strategy that makes sense for the athlete. The plan should be based on using metrics (IE % of your threshold, % of heart rate, the pace you held during workouts, etc) not based on how you felt during most workouts at a certain pace.


Anyone from beginner to professional can benefit from working with EK Endurance and you do not have to live in Boulder to be coached by EK Endurance either! Eric offers free consultations via email to all prospective clients. Shoot him an email to learn more about how he can help you achieve your goals.

About Eric:

Professionally coaching since 1999.  Working with athletes of all abilities from a variety of disciplines.   Specializing in cycling and triathlon Eric works with runners, rowers, mountain bikers, rock and ice climbers, ski mountaineering athletes and more, from professional to beginner.

Blending science with real world practicality, Eric gets amazing results with many different types and abilities.

He works with athletes to maximize their resources to best reach their goals. Training is designed to be fun and sustainable for long term success, happiness and growth.

Based in Boulder, Colorado, EK Endurance Coaching offers customized coaching specifically tailored for each athlete. We travel to other parts of the country to coach our athletes in races and frequently run training camps in various locations. Local clients have access to the highest level of coaching right in their own backyard with group rides and runs. Winter cycling classes, coached swims and the most valuable set of team sponsors and partners and coaching service.

EK Endurance Coaching -

If you are experiencing a running or training related injury, let us help!

At Boulder Sports Chiropractic, we find muscle compensations and identify the areas of weakness by using tools such as functional movement screens (SFMA), Neurokinetic Technique (NKT), and Gait Analysis. A variety of methods and tools are implemented to restore movement (dry needling, Active Release Technique, Graston Technique), along with chiropractic adjustments to restore joint motion. Finally, we prescribe functional, corrective exercises to regain appropriate strength and motor control.

If you are suffering from a running injury, call us today to get evaluated.