Posted by: Joe English | January 2, 2008

Training: New Year’s Resolutions for Runners

Happy New Year Runners!

Let’s get the year started off on the right foot. How about some resolutions that will help us all be happier, healthier, and more effective runners! If you couldn’t think of a resolution on New Year’s Eve, now you have no choice. Adopt some of these easy resolutions in the coming year.

1. Make more specific goals – Too often we have abstract goals, like “run the Rock N Roll Marathon”. Get more specific with your goals this year: “I want to finish the 2008 Rock N Roll Marathon in 4:00:00.” When you have more specific goals in mind, then you can put solid plans in plkace to meet them and you’ll be more motivated to get there.

2. Try some new races – So many runners tell me that they did X race (e.g. Portland, Houston, Chicago) in 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005. . . and so on. Spice things up. Pick a random race off the map and go do it. It will keep things interesting and exciting.

3. Become a water drinker – Make drinking more water a part of your daily life. Runners try hard to stay hydrated during their workouts, but it is healthy and helpful to go into your workouts well hydrated to begin with. Get yourself a water-bottle and carry it around for a week or two. You’ll feel better!

4. Build a diet that supports your workouts and racing – Spend some time really looking at what you eat, and how much of it. It’s easy to think “I need more carbs” to support my races, but what else is going in the tank? Keep a journal for a week or two, logging everything that you eat.

5. Make your core stronger – Put some emphasis on building core strength: the strength of the muscles in your mid-section. These muscles support your frame and make you stronger as a runner. Get into a yoga or core strength class for just a couple of weeks and see what a difference it makes in your running.

6. Focus on learning pacing techniques – If you really want to take your skill level up a notch, then you should spend some time learning how to pace yourself. What I mean by this is understanding what your pace would be at any distance that you might want to race and then being able to train at and nail that pace on race day. Many runners just “run” with almost no sense of their pace. The best can hit their pace with a second per mile at any pace, on any terrain. Make an effort this year to pay more attention to your pace and start building a sense of pacing into your training regime. As an example, you might set aside one day each week when you do a run on the track and take splits every quarter of a mile to see exactly what pace you’re running at a very fine level of detail.

7. Try out a new distance or discipline – It always interesting to me that people get into a groove with a particular distance and then stick with it, seemingly forever. I’ve taken it upon myself to try a new distance or type of race every year and it’s been a wonderful experience. You’ll learn a great deal about yourself. For example, I would have never guessed that I am a terrible a racing cross-country, but I love running on trails. You may just find something that you really love if you try a variety of new things.

There are so many more resolutions that I could list, but the bottom line is this: pick out some new things to try and stick with them for awhile so that you can see the results. Resolutions are a great way to set yourself on a track toward having more fun, better results, and better health.

Best wishes for a happy and healthy year of running!

Coach Joe English, Portland Oregon, USA
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  1. As always, great advice! I need to work harder on 5,6, and 7. Thanks, again, for the great post, Joe.

  2. You know, I’ve learned alot from seeing your pictures with you holding your water bottle while running. I started doing the same thing and BOY it has made a big difference! I have a new appreciation for hydration, that’s for sure! Thanks!!

    Excellent advice.

  3. […] New Year’s Resolutions for Runners, a bunch of good practices for the new year Share and Enjoy: These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages. […]

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