Consistency: The Key Ingredient to Building Endurance

by CJ Hitz January 30, 2020 3 min read 0 Comments

Consistency: The Key Ingredient to Building Endurance

It’s hard to believe that I’m nearing twelve years since I began running in the spring of 2008. Within those first three years, I was fortunate to meet a man who is considered an endurance legend throughout northwest Ohio, George Isom.

As of this writing, George is currently 84 years young, married 63 years, dad, grandpa, former ultramarathoner, Ironman triathlete, school board member, and motivational speaker.

I’ll never forget a nugget of wisdom George shared with me as I was beginning my running journey,

Running Coach George Isom
“CJ, there are no miracles in distance running.”

The principle of reaping what we sow is certainly relevant to any effort requiring endurance. A Hail Mary might occasionally work on the football field (think Doug Flutie), but don’t expect that kind of miracle while participating in a 5k, half-marathon or marathon.

If there’s one thing I’ve learned about endurance, it’s that it can’t be faked for long. Things have a tendency of shaking out fairly quickly. We know when someone has put in the work.

As heavyweight boxing great Mike Tyson once said, “Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the mouth.”

Consistency is Key to Seeing the Plan Succeed

With any runner I’ve coached over the years, long-term consistency is something I try to stress the importance of early on. We can’t rush the process of building endurance. When we do, it usually leads to an injury which leads to a loss in overall fitness while we rehab.

Long periods of consistent, injury-free training will yield greater returns than any short-term fancy workout we experiment with. Don’t get me wrong, there’s a place for hard workouts during a training block but we also want to get to the starting line healthy.

I would also prefer seeing an athlete doing some kind of activity everyday rather than taking two or three days off due to overdoing it in a particular hard workout.

I like the following analogy by coach David Roche where he compares building endurance to building a wall,

“Each day, you have a brick to add. On workout days, that brick might be 20 percent larger than normal. On race day, it might be 50 percent larger (or even more). But every time you take more than one day off in a row, a mini sledgehammer smashes out some of what you have built. (Other things chip away at the wall as well, like poor nutrition or sleep.)”

I’ve found that building the endurance wall slowly over time helps prevent unnecessary burnout and injury. Students who want to do well on a big test usually find that studying the material consistently over time yields better results than trying to pull an all-nighter while cramming for a test.

Unfortunately, I’ve learned the hard way while trying to cram high amounts of volume and intensity into short windows of time leading up to certain races. When we overload our bodies, they have no other choice but to buckle under all that weight.

For those new to running, erring on the side of caution is wise. I like to encourage newbies to try running every other day in order to slowly build consistency. By taking no more than one day off at a time, the body gets into a consistent routine while allowing just the right amount of work and recovery.

As our bodies make the proper adjustments (muscles, tendons, joints) over time, we’re ready to run five or six days while taking one or two days off. But try refraining from taking two days off in a row unless you’re recovering from injury or sickness. Implementing some easy cross-training like cycling or swimming might be a nice option instead of taking complete rest days.

Whether we’re playing the guitar or lacing up our shoes for a run, any skill in life requires consistency and dedication. And while we may not see many miracles on the road to building endurance, we’ll certainly be rewarded for our consistency.

CJ Hitz
CJ Hitz

After running in the 1988 State Cross Country meet in Eugene, Oregon as a high school sophomore, CJ gave up running for nearly 20 years before being drawn back into the sport. CJ caught the “running bug” in 2008 and has not looked back since. He’s dropped over 50 pounds in weight and continues to set new lifetime personal bests as a national class masters runner. CJ has competed in well over 150 races ranging from road 5Ks to trail 50Ks. He enjoys a fast road 5k or a grueling mountain race with lots of elevation gain & loss. Basically, he just plain loves running. CJ and his wife Shelley reside in Colorado Springs, CO where they are spoiled beyond measure with mountains, trails and sunshine. CJ's Train Well Race Well Coaching site - www.TrainWellRaceWell.com Check out CJ's latest book Smoothies For Runners 2.0 here - https://www.amazon.com/Smoothies-Runners-2-0-Performance-Injury-Free/dp/0692738452



Also in BodyHealth

Pushing the Limits of Endurance: One Woman's Heroic Desert Crossing and The Power Of Essential Amino Acids
Pushing the Limits of Endurance: One Woman's Heroic Desert Crossing and The Power Of Essential Amino Acids

by Dr. David Minkoff February 27, 2020 4 min read 0 Comments

In 2003 a 51 year old woman took on one of the most impressive feats of endurance of the last 20 years.

And chances are you never heard about it. Not even once.

Because she didn’t do it for media attention or earning a world record or even as part of a competition.

She did it to prove it was possible. She did it for science.

Read More
Chomping at the Bit 5 Tips for a Successful Racing Season
Chomping at the Bit 5 Tips for a Successful Racing Season

by CJ Hitz February 27, 2020 5 min read 0 Comments

It’s hard to believe that (as you’re reading this) we’re moving quickly toward the spring season. Although here in Colorado, we sometimes bypass spring and move right into summer. If you’re like me, you begin getting a little more excited about your summer racing plans this time of year. You’ve been working hard over the past months to build a solid endurance base which will prepare your body for faster, more intense workouts.
Read More
The Role Nitric Oxide Plays in Exhaustion and Fatigue
The Role Nitric Oxide Plays in Exhaustion and Fatigue

by Dr. David Minkoff February 26, 2020 4 min read 0 Comments

If you wake up feeling exhausted and not fully alive until you’ve had your daily dose of coffee, your body is sending you a message: it’s missing the nourishment it needs to perform.

The lack of energy, sluggish feeling, and inability to enjoy life to the fullest often exists as a result of your body trying to function without critical nutrients.

Imagine trying to run your car with low-grade fuel that only burns at 20% efficiency. Are you going to be driving at top speed?

Well, that’s what happens when your body doesn’t have what it needs to perform.

Read More