This is an entire chapter in my favorite book about acting, Audition by Michael Shurtleff. A director during my sophomore year of college encouraged me to read this book, and it changed the way I looked at acting. It also happened to be shortly after the first real review I'd ever gotten. The review had called me "inconsistent," and I'd taken it somewhat hard. Then I found a book saying that being "consistent" was a bad thing. At least in stage acting.
What he means is that doing the same thing every time isn't true to the moment. The life of the character depends on the moment surrounding the action, and that will be different every time. You're supposed to strive for spontaneity, keeping yourself "in the moment"at all times. Unless you're on film, you don't want to do the exact same thing every time.
Depending on the day in running, this is either completely true, or completely false. From day to day, you don't want to do the same thing. You need to have fast days and slow days. Change up your distances and directions to keep from getting bored or idling on a performance plateau. Overall, you want to keep your running exciting, so you mix it up from one day to the next.
Within each workout, however, staying consistent might be the order of the day. Certainly during speed work, it's great to keep yourself at a certain level of exertion throughout the entire workout rather than starting fast and running to exhaustion. That was my goal this morning, and I succeeded. Nine of my twelve repeats were within one second of each other, and the all of them were within four seconds.
On each lap, I focused on maintaining the same strategy. Block one, which is flat, was all about pushing forward from my upper legs and getting to speed. Block two, heading uphill, was about getting up on my toes. Block three, a more shallow uphill where I normally started to get winded, I drove my arms down, forcing me to move forward. And finally, block four headed downhill, where I released all the tension in my body and allowed gravity to do its work. Add in an avoidance maneuver to avoid cars every now and then, and you had my workout.
By focusing on consistency of form, I didn't have to consider my level of effort. Simply equalizing each lap mentally translated to constant times. I'm hoping to find a nearby track and vary the types of speed work that I do, but for now it's nice to have the same goals from one week to the next, as it helps me genuinely check my progress.
And I'm progressing consistently.
38 Degrees / Clear
3x(4x400, 1:30 Rest)
1:09 1:08 1:08
1:08 1:09 1:09
1:07 1:08 1:08
1:08 1:10 1:07
10 Minutes Yoga for Flexibility and Relaxation