Instead of paying penance for your holiday indulgences with a diet of nothing but carrot sticks and celery, I have a better idea. How about a New Year’s Race-olution?
Now this is a resolution I can get behind…or in front of, because I want to get ahead in my racing! Whether you are an experienced racer or a newbie wanting to tackle your first race, here are five ways to better race in 2015:
Sign up for a race and set a goal.
Choosing a race that is 3-6 months in the future goes a long way in staying motivated to work out well into 2015, when most people’s resolutions will be collecting dust along side their treadmills. Make sure to sign-up for a race distance that is challenging enough to keep you motivated to train, but not so outside of your scope of experience and abilities that you set yourself up for failure. You should aim high with your goals though, with the proper training and guidance you can do more than you think.
Do speed work.
If you want to run a better race in 2015, you’ll need to start by logging those training miles. Once you have a solid running base it’s time to start speed work, which will be a key element to achieving a better race in 2015. If you want to run faster, you need to train to run faster. Hill repeats, track work and stairs can all be effective ways to build speed. Aim for a speed session once or twice a week. Running classes via ClassPass can also be very helpful to work on your time.
Don’t neglect cross-training and strength-training.
Low-impact cross training is good way to increase your endurance base without adding additional stress on your joints. Activities like spinning, swimming, yoga, hiking, walking or the elliptical are all great cross training choices for non-running days. While it may be tempting to adopt an all-running-all-the-time training plan, the smartest use of your workout schedule could be to carve out some time for some strength training. A lot of runners neglect the strength portion of training (I know I used to!), but it is vital to getting stronger and staying injury free. Stronger legs just may bring you across the finish line at a faster pace. Aim for full body strength training session at least two times a week.
Be flexible and rest.
Yoga is a great cross-training activity that can benefit runners, but when I say flexible, I am referring to your training plan. It will be easy to put together an aggressive training plan, then get burnt out, or worse, injured before you have the chance to meet your race goals for 2015. Listen to your body. Take rest days. Take as many as you need. Push through those hard runs, push through feeling uncomfortable, push through laziness but never ever push through injury. A few days off from running or even a week off (if necessary) for recovery is just a blip in your overall training plan. Remember that it is during rest that your body is recovering and getting stronger! Rest is an important part of the equation. Train smart and schedule those rest days for a better race in 2015.
Find a training partner and have fun.
Long after the excitement of signing up for a race has faded, you will still need to be training in order to achieve your race-olution. One way to keep it fun and motivating is to find a running partner or sign up for training with an organized running group. Joining a running group can be a excellent way to get expert advice from a running coach and make some new running friends. Visit your local running shops to find out more about running groups in your area.
I am looking forward to achieving my New Year’s Race-olution by incorporating these five elements into my training plan, I’ll be running a better race in 2015. How about you? Are you missing any of these in your training plan? Are you ready to make a New Year’s Race-olution?