Ahh…another year in the B(r)ooks. Are you happy with the running time and effort you put in? If not, it’s time to lace up the kicks and set some real goals for the year 2010!
We all know the drill - when the champagne is flowing and Dick Clark is smiling at you at midnight, you’ll resolve to eat less, lose more weight, quit the cigs, run a marathon, end world hunger, and…yeah, the list goes on. In the next day or so, while the hangover is a reminder why the champagne you picked was on sale, the resolutions are long gone or wishful thinking, at best. But say it isn’t so! Even though ending world hunger may be a far stretch, running a marathon is not! Here are a few, solid tips that will get you on the way:
Don’t say you’re going to finish a triathlon and all you end up doing is shaving your legs. Instead, assess your current condition, size up the training and see how you can incorporate your goals with your current lifestyle. Chances are you are going to have to change your daily schedule to accommodate your goals.
Sign up for a race
Knowing that you have to show up at the start line on a specific date will help keep procrastination at bay. Sign up with a buddy/co-worker to keep motivation going. Many nationwide running events are accessible via www.active.com.
Keep a detailed training log
Whether you are a beginner, intermediate or advanced runner, there are tons of online resources that can provide you with training schedules that allow you to stay on track. Give yourself at least five weeks of training for a 5K, and five months for a marathon. Runner's World has a great online Smart Coach which calculates a personalized running plan based on different parameters you provide. It's easy to use and available after your free registration.
Run less with interval runs
Just like they said pink is the new black, the new thing for runners is to run less, run faster. Research shows that many athletes who cut back on long distance running but increase their speed work, perform much better at long distance races, as the intervals provide for a strong and prepared stride. So instead of running a so-so 3-miler, mix it up by running 10 instances of 400 meters at maximum speed.
Our bodies adjust quickly to new routines, so it is important not to get stagnant. Luckily, training for a run doesn’t only include hitting the pavement or treadmill. There are many other ways one can accomplish overall performance. Keep your metabolism and strength going by lifting weights, swimming, biking, taking a spin or dance class at least two times a week.
Eat clean food
Not many things can replace a good, fresh pizza on the day of a long run, but problem is, many of us take in way more than we consume. To stay strong and look strong, it is important to get good running fuel that works for our body, and doesn’t get stored as fat. Look to lean proteins, grains, brown rice, sweet potatoes and nuts to help fuel your running machine.
Many beginner runners forget the importance of stretching and get impatient with the routine. It’s imperative that you allot enough time for stretching, sometimes even the night before a run. To get that kick-butt balance between strength, endurance, and flexibility, taking a few minutes extra to stretch, will improve your overall stride and time and prevent injury. Make sure you stretch until you feel discomfort, not pain... It is also a great idea to take a yoga or Pilates class, which not only improves flexibility but strengthens your core.
Have a good running year!