Happy New Year! A new year means a fresh start, new plans, hopes, resolutions, whatever you want to call them, all with the intention of improving on the previous year. If that sounds a little negative, I don’t mean it that way. Most of us just want to take the good things from 2017 and move on from the not-so-good. For runners, that could mean creating a perfect running year.
Did you spend any time on the injury list in 2017? Probably not something you want to repeat. Did you get to do the races that you want (and achieve your goals for each one)? My own goal here is to help you create running goals that will keep you injury-free, motivated, and enjoying every moment of your time on the run. Well, most of the time, anyway. A perfect running year.
6 Tips for Creating a Perfect Running Year
One of the key reasons for creating a perfect running year is to stay healthy and injury free. Too often runners will stack up their races without much rhyme or reason. That can lead, in addition to increased injury risk, to poor performance, over-training, even burnout. These tips will help you plan your races and your training in a way that will allow you to enjoy your racing and your training, as well as remain injury free.
1. Pick Goal Races First
Before you start to randomly add races to your calendar, look at the big picture first. That is, look at the annual calendar. Then pick just one race per quarter (or less, depending on race distance) as a goal race. That will be the race you will target your training toward. If your goal races are marathons, selecting just two as goal races would be the best choice.
2. Plan Your Training Around Your Goal Races
Obviously, you don’t need to create your training plan nine months in advance. But you should have an idea of what will be needed to prepare for your goal races. That will include building a running base, race-specific training, tapering, and recovery. Your training will be dependent upon the distance of your goal races.
3. Sprinkle in a Few Races (that support your training goals)
Now is the time to add in the fun races that you want to do during the year. The deal is, though, that these races should support your training goals. Racing every weekend will probably not do that. Instead, for example, if you’re training for a marathon, fitting in a half marathon during a cutback week is an excellent way to get in some pace training. Or you can substitute a 5k or 10k for a planned speed workout. Just remember to think of these races as part of your training plan. The point is to not go all out. Follow your plan.
4. Take Rest and Recovery Seriously
When you look at the big picture of your training program, then break it into smaller parts, you are actually practicing periodization. As you move from one phase to another, recovery is always a part of your program, both following a goal event and within each training phase. This may be where many runners fail. Taking time off of hard training seems counter-productive. And that is exactly what can lead to injury and over-training.
5. Don’t Make it All About Training
While picking goal races and running races that fit into your training plan are great ways to enjoy your perfect running year, sometimes it’s important to take the time to just run. Run fast, slow, long, short, road, trails, whatever your body needs at the time. It’s a great way to get back to basics and remember why you love running in the first place.
6. Keep Your Body Strong and Mobile
As much as runners love to run, it’s important to mix in both a strength training program that includes core work, exercises to strengthen your hips and glutes, plus flexibility training to help keep you mobile.
Follow these tips and you’ll have an amazing, perfect running year, reduced injury risk, and better performance. Of course, not all runners are interested in racing, so if whatever you’re doing is working for you, keep on keeping on! But if you enjoy racing, or have found yourself on the injured list too many times, these tips can help you achieve your running and racing goals and lead to a perfect running year.
How would you define your perfect running year?
And Now It’s Time for the Running Coaches’ Corner!
My weekly linkups! Please stop by and check out all of the great recipes, workouts, and information that all these awesome bloggers share every week!
Meatless Monday with Sarah and Deborah
Meatless Monday with Annmarie and Dixya
Tuesdays on the Run with Marcia, Erika, and Patty
Inspire Me Monday with Janice
Wild Workout Wednesday with Annmarie, Jen, and Nicole
The Plant-Based Potluck Party with Deborah
The Running Coaches’ Corner with Rachel, Suz, Lora Marie, and Me!
Friday 5 2.0 with Rachel and Lacey and Meranda