8 Running Metrics that you need to follow.. Now.
Most runners believe a Type A personality, where competitiveness and statistics rule our sport is what’s needed to excel.
While it is true that many runners are like this, the vast majority tend to overlook very important details (metrics), which can make a difference in performance and reduce injury.
Whether an experienced runner or just starting, a clear intention determines results.
The first thing you have to understand is that workouts are NOT a performance metric or a test of how physically fit you are for the sport.
As the name says, training is a physiological practice, to “train” our body to have a better performance with a final objective or goal.
With the arrival of new technologies, apps and more sophisticated watches, today we can measure virtually any aspect of our training or performance, but it is useless to have all this data if you do not know how to use them intelligently and apply them to the training plan that you are following (if you have a plan).
The data helps us to make “informed” decisions about your performance, and how you are reacting to a certain training or exercise. But what data is really important? How do you know what to measure and what to give importance?
When it comes to metrics, measure which ones are “actionable” according to your objectives, and which ones only make NOISE.
Every time you “measure something” ask yourself, “Does this metric help me make decisions or actions that improve my performance?”
Most runners think that working hard and giving 100 percent will bring a great reward. The reality is that you have to train consciously and intelligently, NOT hard.
Your training must be intelligently designed to maximize physiological gains, this is where knowing and reading the data correctly is important.
Above all, using the right data to measure your performance is what will give you the gains you seek.
The hours of training are vital to achieving adequate physical conditioning and yet, it is also extremely important to understand what happens in that space of 22-23 hours AFTER when you are not training.
The sophistication of the metrics to be used must always go hand in hand with your level of experience and performance, and your objectives.
If you are starting to run or just looking for fun, the time, distance and pace will suffice to monitor your performance without any complications.
These are the metrics that are BASIC, and your “athletic” objectives or abilities does not matter.
1. Pace: It refers to the time it takes to run a mile. Typically, our average pace marks our long-term performance.
2. Volume / Training Volume: The amount miles you run in certain training or session, or in a specific time, week, month or training cycle.
3. Time: The time it takes to do a certain session or training.
4. Frequency: How many days you dedicate to train
5. Level of Effort: The perceived level of effort for a specific session or training.
6. Pain Level: How sore you are after each workout.
7. Sleep: Number of hours you sleep per day.
8. Stress: Level of stress you feel.
Why ARE these the most important?
• Rhythm,(pace) volume and time. You can measure your progress in your physical condition and physiological adaptations and if you have to make changes in training, distances or rhythms to achieve optimal performance.
• Frequency. Perseverance is vital to achieving the necessary goals and adaptations the need to adjust these metrics if you are not recovering faster, or not running enough.
• Level of effort. This is something that almost nobody measures and is extremely important. If you always train at 100%, you will be overtraining. Your body requires easy days and hard days in which to push the limits. A correct balance is necessary to avoid injuries, so your body learns to be more efficient. Annex the table that I give to my coachees to measure it.
• Level of Pain. Contrary to what most runners think, running does not have to hurt, you have to know how to distinguish between tiredness and pain. Normally the pain is only in a specific part of the body, and that has to be monitored every day. Annex the table that I with my coachees.
• Stress Level. Monitor every day how you feel and be able to express those feelings is essential to monitor stress (number of thoughts and negative emotions). The more stress in our lives, the slower is the recovery of our body.
• Sleep. The higher volume of training or intensity equals more stress and therefore equals more hours of sleep required to recover and adapt. Nothing replaces sleep.
NOTE: Our body takes approximately eight weeks to adapt to new exercises and workouts.
The constancy in the exercise at the beginning is much more important than the intensity to start having an adequate athletic performance.
This applies if you are new running, or you are a veteran with competitive performance. If you add new methodologies or consistent exercise is what will give you the benefits.
In a few words to gain condition or to master a training (for example, if you have never done speed and/or track exercises), or you are trying a new methodology (more days, more volume) if you do too much, too soon, you will cause much more stress to your body than it can repair.
The physiological adaptations do not happen if your body is dedicated to repairing the damage caused if overtrained. This when the lesions or chronic fatigue appear.
How you occupy the rest of your day will be vital to help your body repair itself properly.
If you spend 8 hours sitting in a chair behind a desk, sleep less than 8 hours or have high-stress levels, it does not matter how cleverly you train or how dedicated you are if you do not give your body a break, the body will need more time to repair.
• After one hour of training, you must achieve at least 5,000 additional steps per day, to keep your body flexible and the muscles oxygenated.
• On rest days, you must achieve your 10 thousand steps, gently, NOT aerobically.
If you are going to train for a marathon, or you are training high performance and looking for speed, sleeping at least 8 hours, is the difference between an excellent experience and a miserable one, where you say to yourself, “I dominated the marathon!” but suffered 70% of the time.
This is seen in the statistics of marathon times where the first part you run wonderfully, and then doubles to more than 50% the time per mile run it in the second part.
You can run a strong marathon, doing it for fun and finish strong, my Tokyo Marathon its a perfect example, that I run for the pleasure of being in an amazing foreign country and a running a WMM. NO time goal, and still a strong race and negative splits.
You can get a PR if you really dedicate to measure and monitoring your performance in these key metrics
If you feel super tired or hit the wall, Your body has not reached enough physiological adaptations to have sustained performance for 26.2 miles and this is a result of an inadequate or no training plan, and not enough quality recovery time (sleep) or a poor race strategy.
There are other more sophisticated metrics that I will explain in the second and third part of this series.
• Performance (Performance over time)
• Heart Rate
• VO2 Max
• Running Dynamics
• Stride Length
• Vertical Ratio
• Ground Contact Time Balance
• Ground contact time (ms)
• Heart Rate Zones
If you want to enjoy more every day and for a long time of running, these are the eight metrics that you must take into account and start measuring YA.
As your training coach, I hope you enjoyed this running metric. For a more in-depth and personalized view, visit Training262.com/TrainingPlans and together we’ll put you on the perfect training plan that will get you the results you want.