It's 2018. Over the past couple of weeks we've all taken down absurd amounts of food and booze and for most of us our only exercise was taken in the form of walking to and from the fridge. Should we feel guilty? Absolutely not. Sure we might come away a few kgs heavier than we were in mid December, but you, Mo Farah, Laura Muir and co deserve a break and need this time to spend with loved ones.
Make 2018 Your Year of Running
According to Strava's 2017 report, London is a hotbed for running - we are the most likely city dwellers to run-commute in the world, and run-commuting has grown by 43% this year. The number of people in 2017 who raced in 5ks, 10ks, half marathons and beyond is staggering, and the growth in popularity of our sport shows no sign of slowing down next year.
With this in mind, we're going to take a guess that many of your 2018 new years resolutions will involve running - whether that's completing your first marathon, starting to run for the first time, beating your PB in the half marathon or raising an amount of money for charity. To help you out, we've put together 6 top tips to help you stay fit and give yourself the best change of ticking off those resolutions!
1. GO EASY
It’s time to understand what you’re getting out of your runs. Doing the same distance at the same pace is going to lead to one thing – a plateau. As a beginner, doing the same session over and over again will improve your fitness quickly, but the more running you do, the more you’ll want to adapt training intensities and force your body to continue to adapt to different training stimuli.
Running at easy intensities (conversational pace) provides many of the same physiological benefits as running at a moderate intensity but without the same level of injury risk. Save your moderate intensity running for sessions close to an upcoming race and use them strategically to practice running at your goal pace.
2. FOCUS ON YUR FORM
Your running ability is largely determined by two main things – your ability to take up and utilise O2 (your VO2 max) and your running economy. Both are heritable but both can also be trained! Running economy is a topic of much discussion and improving yours by seeing a professional for gait analysis is a sure-fire way to a PB.
One quick fix that will improve your economy is keeping your head up and looking 50 to 60 yards in front of you instead of down at the ground. A good way of teaching yourself how to run with good economy is to use cues to remind you to reset your running form as you go. For example, every mile take a second to check your form and pick your head up!
3. FIND A RUNNING BUDDY
According to Strava, training with a buddy leads to 22% more activities. If you’re serious about consistently training this year, why not find someone or a group fo people to train with in your local area?
Set up a lunch run at work with colleagues and/or join our new group Wake Up & Run, where you can find other people to run with!
4. INVEST IN YOUR KIT
Making running as easy and comfortable as it can be is a worthwhile investment! It’s so easy to bail on a run if you don’t have the right kit or don’t feel prepared – invest time and money in setting yourself up for success.
This is a bit of a weird one, but if there’s one piece of kit that is guaranteed to make your training logistically simpler, it’s a flipbelt (there are other brands available!). The Flipbelt goes round your waist and holds your phone, keys and any other valuables and will sae you trying to cram them all into the pockets of your shorts, skirt or tights.
5. WHEN YOU’RE RESTING YOU’RE STILL TRAINING
Legendary coach Jack Daniels coined this turn of phrase and it’s so true. Your body adapts during the periods of rest between sessions; without adequate time to recover, your body won’t be able to adapt and will just gradually break down! As we start January, the temptation is to think ‘more is better’ and go out and run every day – in fact, it pays to take your rest as seriously as your training. Cutting down on excessive alcohol intake, eating well and giving your legs a rest are all key for recovering quickly between runs.
Plan your workouts strategically so that you give yourself as much time as possible to recover between sessions. For example, try and break up hard sessions with easier recovery runs, and, especially if you’re a new runner, try and avoid training in the evening and waking up the next day to train again – if you have to do it (and your training to improve performance), eating well around those sessions to promote recovery will be vital.
6. MONITOR YOUR MOTIVATION
If you’re not enjoying your running, make a change! Whether it’s running in new places, running with new people, adjusting your goals or taking a break from running for a bit, keep it varied, keep it interesting and keep your motivation in tact.
Use a training log (eg a tool like TrainingPeaks) to track how you’re feeling every morning and how every run goes. You can even colour code runs (Red = ‘awful, had to stop, felt bad’, Amber = ‘fine’, Green = ‘felt amazing, could have gone for longer’) – a string of Reds could be an indication that you need to address your training.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Thanks for reading! If you’re looking for a coach to guide you through 2018, I'd love to support you. As a Personal Trainer, Run Leader and experience of coaching/racing at all distances, gait analysis, training plans in TrainingPeaks and personal training sessions are all in the toolbox to help you towards your running goals this year!