Principle No. 1: Overload/Stress

In order for your body to reach a higher level of fitness there has to be a stimulus for that adaptation. Stress is the stimulus in training and as a distance runner that stimulus is a function of:

  • Frequency = how often you run/train
  • Volume = how much you run per day, per week, per season…
  • Intensity = how hard you train/run

Principle No. 2: Specificity

Different types of training stresses different types of systems, but only the system stressed benefits from the stress. In other words, as a runner, if you want to get better at running the most beneficial type of training to do is running. In addition, different types of running workouts target different energy systems and are used to make you a more complete runner with a full arsenal of weapons to use in competition.

Long Runs-

Intervals –

Tempo Runs –

Repeats –

Principle No. 3: Regeneration

Stress must be followed by rest for the body to react and adapt to training stresses in a beneficial way. The adaptation to training stress does not happen during the actual training, but during the rest/recovery phase






Principle No. 4: Rate of Achievement/Progression

New training stresses cause rapid gains in fitness during the first 1-2 weeks of training. Increases in fitness plateau after 4-6 weeks of training. New forms or levels of stress can and should be added after 4-6 weeks in order to stimulate new growth in fitness.

Principle No. 5: Individual Differences/Personal Limits

Each person responds differently to training stresses (physically, mentally, emotionally…). Each person has different capacities for adapting to training stresses.

Principle No. 6: Diminishing Return

Increased stress is NOT directly related to fitness gains (i.e. running 100 miles/week would not be two times more beneficial that running 50 miles/week). Benefits of increased weekly mileage begin to level off above 50 miles/week and dramatic gains in fitness can occur from 6-8-mile-long runs, but those benefits begin to level off above 9-10 miles (70:00).

Principle No. 7: Accelerating Setbacks

Potential for setback (injury, illness, burnout…) increase exponentially with increased levels of training stress. In addition, other life stress (family, friends, job…) impacts the ability to adapt to training stresses.

Principle No. 8: Ease of Maintenance

Maintaining a level of fitness is easier than the process of attaining a new level of fitness in the first place.

Maintenance workouts (coming soon)

Principle No. 9: Reversibility

Loss of fitness occurs when training stops or is interrupted (injury, illness, recovery phase…).

Principle No. 10: Memory Erosion

Your body will remember what it feels like to have a certain level of fitness, but your mind tends to forget how much work was required in the first place to gain that level of fitness. As a result coming back to training after an injury, illness or time off can often be a bigger challenge mentally than it is physically.