6 Lessons That Have Most Helped My Running

6 Lessons That Have Most Helped My Running

By Jeffrey Ross, co-founder of The Running Plan, Malaysia.

I’d like to share some important running lessons that I’ve learned; hopefully some of these can help your running too!

1 – Keep a detailed training log

2 – Structure your training effectively

3 – Do strength work consistently

4 – Use training partners for hard workouts

5 – Race less (and train more)

6 – Look after your body


Keep a Detailed Training Log


  • Keep a daily log of your resting heart rate.
  • Most activity watches track the majority of the data we need!
  • Additional data to track – perceived workout exertion, weekly sleep patterns, perceived weekly fatigue

It makes a lot of sense to have a log of your training so that you can refer back to the data regularly and identify reasons for performance gains or losses.  It is also a very useful means of identifying potential periods where you may have over-trained or under-rested, and from where an injury or niggle may have arisen.  If we don’t have an accurate record of our training, how can we expect to learn from our mistakes and our successes?

Having an expert analyse your training data can also offer valuable insights and can identify areas where you can optimise your training.


  • Use our Personal Coaching service – we subscribe to a virtual training software to capture all your data
  • We monitor your training remotely and work closely with you to optimise your training and performance


Structure Your Training Effectively


  • Avoid over-training
  • Remember the need to rest and recover
  • Don’t avoid hills in your training (hills are your friend!)
  • Do weekly and varied speed workouts
  • Know the purpose of every run that you do

It takes a long time to learn what works (for you) and what doesn’t.  We have to make mistakes and learn from them.  But we also should avoid reinventing the wheel, and it makes a lot of sense to learn and copy from those who have already figured out what comprises effective training structure.

Mixing up your training is critical, to ensure you keep progressing.  The human body is extremely smart, and it adapts quickly to the demands we place on it.  This means we can easily plateau in our running performance if we don’t continually shock and stress the body.  But the trick is to do that without getting injured and without putting ourselves under too much stress and fatigue.

It is vital to have a training plan to follow to ensure that your training has structure and progressive goals.  I get approached by so many runners who do the same training every single week and they ask me why they stop improving, or even start declining!  Once they start using our training plans, the improvements come within a matter of weeks.  For those that have never trained with structure before, you have the most to gain!


  • Follow our structured training plans
  • Use our Personal Coaching service to work towards a specific goal
  • Come to our classes to learn new workouts and push harder in a group environment


Do Strength Work Consistently

One of my running breakthroughs came from (finally) introducing regular and consistent strength work into my training routine.  I had always previously put more time into extra mileage at the expense of gym work, but when I changed that, it made me stronger and faster.  I wish I had learned this valuable lesson sooner!

By strength work I mean bodyweight or gym exercises for legs, core and full body; what particularly helped me was working on my hips and legs.

Stretching and mobility exercises are also extremely useful, therefore ‘cross-training’ with Yoga and Pilates can add a lot of value too.


  • Our training plans contain comprehensive bodyweight routines with videos to follow
  • We have 3 bodyweight video series within our training plans – Full Body, Core and Hips & Legs


Use Training Partners for Hard Workouts

It is widely accepted that training in a group is more effective than training alone, at least for ‘quality’ or ‘hard’ sessions.  I consider myself very self-motivated, so I have no issue to push myself to do a hard hill or track workout alone, however I am also a very competitive person and when I train with people at the same level or above, it certainly pushes me to work harder than if I were alone.

Find yourself some training partners for some of your sessions, so that you can motivate each other to achieve more.  Running can be a solitary activity, but training in groups is a great way to share the pain!  It is also very rewarding to see others developing within your group, as a result of the team dynamics.


  • Try out our group classes; it will be the best move you make to spice up your training!
  • We have all levels of ability and fitness in our training groups, so don’t be worried that you might be the slowest… you won’t be, and it doesn’t matter if you are!


Race Less (and Train More)

Most of us enjoy the many running events that are available, and of course we like to show off our finisher medals and t-shirts!  But racing regularly may not necessarily be the best thing for your training.  I personally believe that you should not race more than once in 3 weeks.

When we race hard, we need time to recover, which is time away from your training.  We also have to taper for a race, which again means less training.  So, for those that race every week or even every fortnight, it is highly disruptive to your training, and there is a higher chance of stagnation and injury.

If, however you are using a race as a means to gathering mileage, then more regular event participation is less of an issue.  And of course, sometimes a race is a great way to practice strategies (such as pacing or nutrition) for a future target event.  But it is never easy to run a race slower than you normally do, so beware if you go in to a race with the view to ‘run easy… once the gun goes off, the adrenaline will kick in!

It is also very important to think carefully about which race distances you enter, and the timing of those.  This goes hand in hand with your training objectives and training plan.  I’d only recommend you to enter a race distance for which you are willing to train properly, and only enter an event date which gives you a proper period of time in which to train!


  • Our training plans include taper weeks to manage your training in the lead up to your target event
  • We have different lengths of training plans to suit all levels of runners


Look After Your Body


  • Eat clean
  • Drink lots of water
  • Get enough sleep (easier said than done!)

I find that Malaysia’s climate makes it easy for me to live a clean lifestyle; I naturally want to drink a lot of water due to the heat and fresh fruit is abundantly available.  Of course, there are many temptations with the lovely variety of local street food, but at least when we run a lot, we can indulge from time to time without guilt or repercussions!  But we have to be disciplined, and we have to lead by example with our family and peers.

I have had a lot of benefit (both personally and with many of my runners) in using high quality magnesium oil daily; I’d highly recommend this practice to any runner.  I also cannot recommend enough the need to take a recovery drink within 30 minutes of any hard workout.

We must treat our bodies in the same way that we should look after the vehicle that we drive – preventative maintenance!  Don’t wait until you get injured; listen to your body and take action if it tells you there is a problem.  I am fortunate enough to be sponsored by My Bowen Therapy, which I have found to be the ultimate in body maintenance.

Don’t forget the simple benefits of stretching and mobility exercises to keep your body in good shape and to prevent injury.



Few runners are satisfied with their current level of fitness and most of us are continually searching for ways to better ourselves and to get fitter, faster and stronger!  There are no shortcuts however, but staying injury free is perhaps the biggest objective we should have, and many of the above points are relevant to this important objective.

But let’s not lose sight of the fact that for 99.9% of us, running is a hobby and we mustn’t forget to enjoy it!  I love physical activity and I love being around other people that love exercising.  I consider myself truly blessed to be in a job where I can run every day, and where I can help other people to do the same.

I hope to see you soon at a race, or a class, or in passing on the road!



Jeffrey Ross, Director and co-founder of The Running Plan

WhatsApp – 0122996315 (within Malaysia), 0060122996315 (outside Malaysia)











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