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While my commitment to consistent running has had its ups and downs over the past twelve or so years, I’ve found Daniels’ Running Formula to be invaluable in helping me stick to it.
I’m not a natural born runner. My body type, in the most generous sense, is built more for powerlifting than an expression of effortful cardio bliss. That said, I need to work hard to not get “bulky”, either from weight gain or muscle, or both.
In 2007 I was living in Chicago and started dating an Olympic-level runner. Ultimately, she ended up as an alternate for the 800m at the Beijing Olympics. She’s the one who introduced me to the joy of running, and to Daniels’.
“Just start by running two miles every day for two weeks,” she said. Two miles didn’t sound too hard, and I could go at a comfortable pace, but every day sounded like a lot of compounding fatigue. What I didn’t anticipate was that this would steadily grow into a love for the effort of running, finding strength in the commitment it requires, strategizing how to approach more challenging runs, and the puzzle solving and mathematical enjoyment of calculating the program from week to week.
Whenever I’ve done a full Daniels’ program, which is 24 weeks long, I’ve done the 5k training program. I don’t have a big desire to race at all and, if I did, it would be something like a 5k, certainly not a marathon.
Without trying to summarize the entire book, which I’d certainly do poorly, I’ll just say what it provides me that I find useful.
The structure to know that what I’m doing is working toward something (better health, faster times, greater distance, improved cardio strength) and an expert has generated the formula.
Trust that easier days are intentional and not due to an unwillingness to push myself. Again, it’s a program, so every day isn’t race day, and every workout is building toward something larger than the workout itself.
Just like any type of rules based thinking, having this program in writing and spelled out gives me the right motivation to see it through. For me, it’s that sort of thing that says, “you’ve committed to this and you know it’s good for you and, look, it’s already planned out and you just have to go do it!”. I find this component to be critical.
If you enjoy any bit of planning or calculating, you’ll get a good dose daily or weekly by setting out what the week will look like, as well as planning any particular run in advance.