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The year in review...

     As the year draws to a close it’s a good time to look back at the year and take stock of your accomplishments.  I always encourage my athletes to “debrief” after a race; to make a note of what they did well, and what they can do better next time.  Every race is a learning opportunity if you take the time to really look objectively at your performance.

The end of the year is a good time to take an even bigger view. What did you do well this past year?  Where is there room for improvement?  What distances did you most enjoy running in training, and in races? What goals did you accomplish? How smoothly did your training go? Were there injuries?  Did you try some new things? How did you battle back after setbacks?

     If you keep a running log you can look back at weekly mileage and long-run trends, and you can track how your body responds to different types of workouts.  For example some athletes do best with higher mileage and a single, weekly speedwork session, while others seem to thrive with more moderate mileage and two different types of “intensity work” each week.  Each athlete is unique. Each athlete has different strengths and weaknesses.  If you track your own training, you’ll start to learn what works well for you.  Your training is just that – YOURS.  Don’t expect a canned plan to work the same for you as it does for your running buddy.

     As you look back over the year, pay particular attention to your race schedule.  How frequently did you race? What distances? Did you allow adequate taper and recovery intervals to insure you were at your peak on race day? Did you conquer a new race distance?

     Racing well demands focus in training and focus on race-day execution.  Look at 2017 as a blank slate. Pick your races wisely.  If you’re racing half marathon distance you may be able to do 3 to 4 key races in a year and sprinkle in a couple of 5k and 10k events along the way.  If you’re racing marathon distance, most athletes do well with 2 key marathons in a year.  Your mileage may vary of course, but the point is to pick your “A” races and insure that you’ve given yourself adequate time to train, taper, race and recover. 

Here are some general guidelines you can use for training:

●     Build your distance systematically and carefully

●     Introduce hills before you introduce speed work

●     Speed work volume should be relative to your total weekly volume (don’t overdo it)

●     Allow adequate taper before a race so you have fresh legs on race day

●     Respect the purpose of every workout (pace matters!)

     If you’re interested in some professional and personalized guidance, please reach out to me at coach@runningstrong.com.   Having someone to help identify your strengths and weaknesses and design a plan that is tailored to your needs may just help you make next year your best year ever!  Just ask the Running Strong athletes. In 2018, there were 21 age group placements, 4 new PRs, and several who raced farther than they had ever gone before.

Visualize your success -- and get there by training SMART

Coach Janet Hamilton, MA, RCEP, CSCS


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