Coach Mike Mead

January 2015

Delay Your New Year’s Running Plan

It is the start of a new year and many of us may have made resolutions – promises to ourselves – that we will make changes that will lead to improvement in our not-so-ideal lives. Unfortunately, most of us do not succeed in seeing our resolutions come to fruition.

At this time of year, weight-loss companies and health clubs prey on the vulnerabilities of individuals attempting to make changes in diet and lifestyle. Many novice and “soft-core” runners may vow to train in a certain manner and commit to themselves that this year is going to be different.

Whatever your intentions, this is the worst time of the year to make resolutions or plans that will be successful. I’m speaking from experience! You want to be successful, but making drastic changes are setting you up for failure and disappointment. I say give it a month or two!

If you have it in your head to become a better runner, hold off your plans. Why? It is about timing. January is a bad month to delve into a new running scheme. The days are short and it is the coldest month of the year. There is the potential for ice and snow that may limit activity. Who wants to start a new plan with additional challenges!

Yeah, you could run on a treadmill to avoid the cold weather, but I’m a purist. The month of January needs to be a “transition” period to move you from “holiday-mode” back into “training-mode.” If you have been feasting during the Holidays, you have to finish off the leftovers and resume a reasonable diet.

Many folks have had an erratic work schedule the last few weeks of December. You may have gotten in more running than usual if you have been on vacation, but likely visiting family and friends limited your training. Some may have just planned for self-imposed down time from training and intent to resume their routine after the New Year’s celebrating.

If you have tried in previous years to change up your running in January, then heed my advice and delay your plans – at least until February!

Rather than go out and try running every day, do X amount of miles per week, or run certain workouts, start by attending to the details that compliment your training. Simply begin with getting at least eight hours of sleep per night, every night. Chances are that you did not sleep a lot during the Holidays, particularly on New Year’s Eve! If you are resolving to become a better runner, you will need your rest! Take control over things you can.

Next, get a handle on your daily intake of food and drink. During the Holidays, it’s the cookies, candy and rich foods that I over-indulge. You may be one who drank more than your share of eggnog or alcohol that has helped add a few pounds to your running frame. Weed yourself off the holiday snack trays and fried finger foods. Get back to your eating regiment of a low-fat, diet that has sufficient carbs, protein, fruits and veggies.

In place of your daily run – don’t totally take off from running – substitute a cold-day run with flexibility and core strength training. Improving flexibility and core strength will help make you more efficient when you do run and may help prevent a nasty injury should you take a spill on a patch of ice.

By attending to the details and working your way back to training mode will make you a more compete runner that should be the ultimate goal of any aspiring runner. If you want to have success this coming year, make sure you have the little things covered first.