Runners World Articles: Archives - January 2003
Back to the Future
To plan your running future, you need to evaluate your running
past. Heres how.
The most important 45 minutes of your new running year should not
be spent running. Thats because a years worth of great
running doesnt just happen-you need to plan it. The best way
to gain control of your running future? Take a few minutes and recount
your recent running past.
So pull up a chair and grab a pen. The only parts of your body that
will get any exercise over these next 45 minutes are your writing
hand and your memory.
RECAP YOUR RUNNING
Whether you have a well-organized running log, a pile of scribbled
notes, or just am mind full of memories, spend 15 minutes reviewing
the past 52 weeks of running. Looking at a calendar will help. Jot
down some quick, honest answers to the following questions:
1. What were your running successes?
Here youll want to list your best running moments from the
past year, such as the workouts that produced the greatest results;
the racing tactics that helped you achieve faster times; or the
mental strategies that kept you excited about running.
2. What weekly mileage worked best?
Examine both the number of miles that kept you running well without
injuries, and the number of running days per week that seemed optimal.
3. What about racing?
Take stock of how many races kept you running well without any burnout.
Also, evaluate which race distances motivated you enough to train
regularly without stressing you out.
4. What didnt work?
Focus on those times when you failed to achieve a goal, were hampered
by injury, or struggled with lack of motivation. More to the point,
examine the periods immediately preceding the trouble spots to try
to determine the causes.
SKETCH YOUR RUNNING FUTURE
With the answers to the above questions in hand, take another 15
minutes to come up with a list of actions that will serve as the
guidelines for your next running year. Be sure to include:
- The Strategies you plan to use to build on your running successes
from the last year.
- The number of days per week youd like to run, and the
number of miles per week youd like to average.
- The lessons you learned from what didnt work in 2002.DREAM
Now use these last 15 minutes t write down what you would like
to achieve with your running during the upcoming year. Record
at least your top two or three objectives, and more if you want.
Think along these lines:
- What do you want to get out of your runs-relaxation, stress
release, more vitality?
- Is there a performance goal that you want to attain, such as
finishing your first marathon, trying an adventure race, or running
a specific time?
- Can you make a connection between running and the rest of your
life by challenging a sibling to finish a race, introducing a
friend to running, or taking a run/walk/hike vacation with your
parents or children?
Okay, your 45 minutes are up. Keep your notes in a prominent place,
and refer to them often as you chart out your weekly training schedules.
By highlighting what worked and what didnt, your look back
at 2002 will help you write a new and improved running history for
Adopt these four resolution to ensure great running throughout 2003:
1. During every long run I will find a way to have at least
10 minutes of fun, and I will appreciate the sense of accomplishment
2. As part of every speed session I will warm up and cool
down adequately, and I will finish the workout feeling as if I could
have done 1 or 2 more miles or repeats.
3. In every race I will start more slowly than I plan to
average per mile so I can finish strong.
4. On every easy run I will, in fact, run easy. If that means
letting the Penguin pass me, so be it.
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