Well, another December is upon us which also means one year is ending and another one is about to begin. For those with an optimistic bone in their body, an approaching new year is an exciting time. For those runners trying to perfect their game, I believe this is the perfect time of the year to map out a training and racing schedule for the coming year.
December is an awkward month for the serious runner who faces seasonal challenges with the weather and holiday distractions. Everyone’s routine is disrupted by holiday work and school schedules. Many folks travel to see family and friends during December.
Unless you are a competitive college runner transitioning between cross country and indoor track & field, the majority of runners should use the month to take a break from routine, reflect on running achievements, and develop a plan to initiate when the New Year arrives. Basically, enjoy the month for what it is!
During the days just after Christmas and before New Year’s Eve, many individuals will ponder resolutions for the coming year. Their hope is to be a better person by taking on a personal challenge. Over the last 20 or 30 years, many people resolve to lose weight, but many of them fail within the first few days because they lack a solid plan.
Runners approaching the New Year who wish to experience better outcomes must develop a reasonable training plan in order to be successful in their results. Over the years I have recommended in many of these writings that a serious runner needs to maintain a training log.
So, the month of December is a great time to review your training and racing results for the year. How many miles did you log in for the year? Notice any irregular training issues?
There could be periods of time where you missed consistent training. Were you sick and missed some time? What about work or travel interfering with your efforts?
A few years ago I reviewed my training log and discovered that I missed something like 50 days of training during the year. If I did not change my daily runs and just worked at missing fewer days that I could increase my annual mileage.
As for your competitive runs, did you have a distinct racing period? I recommend no more than three distinct racing periods. If you are constantly racing, you need to change your approach. Did you race too much or not enough?
Take the time now to plan your training and racing schedule for the coming year. It just makes good sense to design a strategy that leads to your goals. What’s that? You do not have any goals? Don’t go there! What is the reason to run if you do not have a purpose?
Keep in mind your goals and plans do not have to be written in stone. One does have to allow some flexibility because life has its share of distractions and disruptions. Successful runners are able to minimize these obstacles by having a plan and doing their best to stay the course.
If you are invested in the plan, you will find a way and the means to make it work.
So, take advantage of the distractions and joys that the month of December brings and plan out your training and racing schedule for the coming year. Review your training log and use it as a blueprint to build on this coming year’s plan.
Plan now so that when the New Year arrives, you can confidently hit the road knowing where you are going with your running plan for the coming year.
HAPPY NEW YEAR!