I've heard a few coaches talk about how they run 3-4 times a week and become a better runner. However, elite runners don't just do 3-4 times a week. They pretty much do it every single day. Why is that? That's because their health and fitness level is considerably different from ours. Also, when we exercise like that and do every other day, it helps us recover. However, to the elite runners, they're used to that regiment and lifestyle and it's just how they live.
Let's look at an easy example. We walk every day. We don't get tired and just take a nap for 24 hours to rest for walking during the day. Our body is a lot stronger than that. We can adapt and get used to standing up for 8 hours each day at work lifting boxes. We can also adapt to our running.
How can we adapt our running? Simple. Just do easy runs every day and continue. Simple right? You see, most people still believe that in order to achieve something, you need to get hurt, sacrifice something... but they don't understand that a lifestyle can get you where you need to be. As a crazy runner, that is my lifestyle, so as a 'not yet elite runner' I'm going to work to get to run longer distances and build myself up through time to become the best I can possibly be.
Today, I ran 4.17 miles in 33:51, an average of 8:06 min/mile. My heart rate was a little higher than I'd like, so next time, I'll have to make sure I don't go too fast. I want to continually push my aerobic threshold so that I could naturally run faster and more easily. Steps are being taken, and I've still got a good 180 days til the Leadville 100 so I'm hoping to build a good foundation by then.
One step at a time. Exercise daily.