The FITT principle – essential to the development of any training regime, specifically effective when it comes to running. In a nutshell, the FITT principle is a method that can be applied to your training week, to help you quickly and easily get fitter, whilst helping you enjoy your training at the same time. If you have ever studied physical activity or coaching of some sort, you will probably be familiar with this concept. If not – let me explain.
FITT stands for Frequency, Intensity, Time and Type – the four pillars of training that you can alter for your particular needs.
Say you have just started running, you are running three times a week and you are feeling comfortable with that, but you want to get better value out of your training week. Whats the easiest way to achieve this? By increasing the frequency of your runs; using my prior example, you will increase your amount of runs per week from three to either four or five. The extra runs each will are self explanatory in terms of their benefit. Take not that increasing the frequency should be a GRADUAL change, only adding on an extra run/session every couple of weeks, to avoid injury.
When increasing the frequency of your activities is not an option to you – maybe due to other commitments or injury problems, or perhaps you are already running five or more times a week, then you should consider altering the intensity of your workouts. What I mean by this, for example, is instead of doing a 30 minute easy run, do a 30 minute steady or tempo run. This means you are running faster, thus your heart rate will be higher, consequently leading to a much more impressive training benefit, as your metabolism and resting heart rate will surely benefit. To increase the intensity of your sessions, you could perhaps do shorter repetitions at a faster pace. This is a good way to get better quality out of your training, without spending more time doing so.
Similar to the pillar of frequency, a clear cut way to get fitter is to make your runs longer. Don’t necessarily run more often, just run for longer. This is a good way to better your aerobic base, and it is easy to moderate; every time a distance feels easy, add on at the end. It also gives a runner something to aim for. For example: say you are running for 30 minutes at a time, you can have a target to do one hour runs within X amount of weeks, which is easy to measure and is a clear goal. Be wary, as frequency and time should not be implemented at the same time, as that leads to too much progression in shorter periods of time, which can lead to injuries.
Not necessarily the pillar to make you fitter – but the way to add enjoyment and difference to your regime. There are a few key ‘types’ of training you can implement when it comes to running: Continuous runs, Fartlek runs (altering the pace and terrain over a run) and Intervals. Manipulating your type of workout can stop you from always doing continuous runs, which can lead to a lack of motivation. It also allows you to figure out what you are good at. Say you can smash some short, fast interval sessions on the track – you should consider competing on the track; say you always have good Fartlek sessions on the grass – you should consider competing on the cross country.
The FITT principle should be implemented into your running week over a course of time, not straight away. Take it week by week, slowly increasing your amount of workouts, then change up the intensity, then change the type of runs you do. The name of the game is progression – without getting injured.