This post is about why consistency matters and why overall volume matters for running. I also realize I owe you guys the third installment of It’s Not About the Track. Right now the first two installments of that series are most relevant for triathletes looking to race well this spring and summer.
Why does consistency matter so much? It’s consistency that facilitates the training effect. It’s the day after day training that enables you to improve. Being consistent gives you the ability to do things in training an inconsistent athlete can’t do. If they are brave enough to do it, it will bury them taking them away from being consistent for a few days. If you are consistently running 30 miles per week 5 days per week and you decide to go run an extra 30 minutes one day, it’s that consistency and volume that enables you to range up without dinging yourself too much. If you are running 5 days per week, your improvement will be greater and your ability to do a large workload higher then the athlete who runs 5 days one week, two days the next, then four days, then 3 days. Workload matters. The higher your workload the more you can do. The more you can do, the faster you improve. It’s hard to have a high, consistent workload if you are inconsistent. Consistency is the foundation a high workload is built on. Consistency also breeds volume.
Volume is important because it’s the volume that allows you a greater margin of error in your racing. If you are only running 25 miles per week your run fitness will not match that of someone running 35 miles per week. Your margin of error pacing the bike, no matter how great your bike fitness, is smaller the less volume you consistently average. The worse you pace the bike the more your run suffers regardless of run fitness. The less volume you run, the more your run suffers due to early run pacing errors. You have less room to screw things up with less volume. Or conversely, the more volume you consistently have, the more you can screw things up and still end up with a good result. Even if you pace the bike properly, the more fit of a runner you are, the more likely you are to pull that rabbit out of the hat when you screw up. You can be the best biker out there, but if your run is crap, you will be seeing lots of butts pass you by. Low volume typically yields crappy runs.
To sum things up, consistency allows your workload to be higher. Higher workloads allow you to improve faster. More volume makes you a fitter runner, sooner. A higher volume of weekly running also gives you more room to screw things up in a race and still have a good result.