Build Step By Step
The principle of patient, incremental progress is the first principle of running. The ability to run improves with running, but not instantaneously. It takes time. You stimulate improvement by running a little more or a little harder than you’re used to doing. If you try to do more than a little more than you’re used to, you’ll break down. That’s why it has to happen one step at a time.
There are two levels of building: short-term and long-term. Short-term building entails building fitness step by step toward your next important race. Unless you’re already experienced, you probably can’t realize your ultimate potential in time for your next race, and you shouldn’t expect to. The idea is to build as much fitness as you realistically can in that time. It takes many years of consistent running to become the best runner you can be.
Rodgers never ran more than 35 miles a week in high school and he didn’t run much more than that in college—and he never regretted easing into serious running in this manner. He felt it all worked out for the best in the long run.