Training for an endurance event can seem really complex and overwhelming. It also doesn’t help that there’s a lot of confusing and contradictory information out there. However, just keep it simple and remember these three things:
1. Stay consistent
Consistently training is more important than speed work or total volume. Try to keep your training up throughout the week to help your body adapt to the stress, rather than cramming it in on the weekend. Just 30 minutes a day can make a drastic improvement.
2. Focus on RPE
Although paces can be helpful, RPE (Rate of Perceived Effort) is the best way to evaluate how you’re feeling and if you’re hitting the target effort level that you should be. On a scale from 1–10, refer to the following:
Recovery runs: 4–5 RPE (40–50% max effort)
Endurance runs: 5–6 RPE (50–60% max effort)
Lactate threshold: 7–8 RPE (70–80% max effort)
VO2 max: 9–10 RPE (90–100% max effort)
Since a certain pace can feel easy one day and exhausting the next (simply due to the stresses of everyday life), the above RPE scale will help you adapt your training and gauge your runs more effectively.
3. Let your body recover
Down weeks are absolutely necessary. Not only do they help prevent injuries, but they make your body stronger. Try to incorporate a recovery week every third or fourth week of training, which means fewer, shorter runs or just lower intensity.
If you focus on these three things, you should see a big difference over time. Just remember, start simple and build from there. If you have any questions, please feel free to leave them in the comments!