What Should You Do If You Didn’t Achieve Your Running Goal(s) This Year?

runningfailure

“Only those who dare to fail greatly can ever achieve greatly.” – Robert F. Kennedy

Hello Runners,

If you have run your event(s) for the year, or will do so soon, I recommend that you take some time off from running after your event(s) are done. In fact, I recommend taking at least two weeks and as many as five weeks off. I would not recommend taking more than five weeks because you will lose a significant amount of fitness that you trained so hard to gain this year!

However, physically and mentally, your body can benefit from some time off from running. This might be a great time to reconnect with family and friends, or do some other activities you wanted to do, but didn’t have time for while training. Recently, I chatted with my brother, who lives in California, for about three hours. I chat with him every other week, however it’s often after my long runs and is usually for no more than an hour. I’ve also made more time to play guitar, which has been a lot of fun!

I hope that your season was successful and that you achieved your running goals for this year. However, if you didn’t achieve them, don’t get discouraged. Recently, I’ve been reading Angela Duckworth’s book Grit, which discusses the power of passion and perseverance and thus, seems relevant to this post.

This year I did not achieve my goal of breaking three hours in the marathon, but I’m not going to give up! Instead, I will reflect upon what worked and what didn’t work and learn from this, as I prepare for my next attempt. I think back to how it took me a few marathons to break 3:15, and how many days I looked at that goal on my refrigerator door. However, I persevered and not only broke 3:15, but once I did, I said to myself, I can train better and break three hours.

So, if you didn’t achieve your running goals for this year, don’t get discouraged for long. Instead, take a few minutes to reflect about the following…

What worked this year for you? What were your successes?

Were you more consistent with your training, speed work, warmups, strengthening exercises, stretching and foam rolling?

Did you explore some new areas with your runs, meet some new people that you ran with?

Were you better with your hydration and fueling during long runs and/or your event?

Were you making food choices that helped you better optimize your running performance?

I was happy with my training consistency and most of my speed workouts this year, although I could have done more speed work. I explored some new areas with my long runs, which made them more enjoyable! For most of this past year I was consistent with my training and noticed significant improvements in my core strength. I got to run with a friend on a consistent basis, which also made training more enjoyable.

What didn’t work and could be improved upon? If you could go back and change anything in your training, what you did during race week, the morning before your event, during the event itself, what would you change?

Were you set back by any injuries?

Was your training plan not appropriate for your goals, fitness level, and time you had available for training?

Did you not make hydration and nutrition a priority and this held you back?

Did life get in the way of your training at any point? 

As my training progressed, I was not as consistent with my strengthening exercises and foam/lacrosse ball rolling and stretching. This most likely contributed to some plantar fasciitis that developed. Fortunately, I addressed this quickly, and as a result, I only had to take minimal time off from running. However, this was a reminder that I needed to be more consistent with my strengthening exercises and foam/lacrosse ball rolling and stretching. I will prioritize these more next year, and either wake up earlier or perform these during the day.

I also had to cut a few speed workouts short because I ran out of time and will need to plan better for them next year.

Finally, I had an unexpected family matter that I need to go back to New York for, which occurred when my marathon was, so I missed it. At that point, I felt my body and mind needed a break from training and decided not to jump into another marathon shortly afterwards. However, I got in a solid year of training, took a couple of weeks off from running, and have resumed training again for an early spring marathon.  

So, take some time off from running to enjoy other aspects of life and take some time to reflect on your running for this past year. Again, if things didn’t go as well as you had hoped, think about what did go well, and continue doing that, and also think about what didn’t go well and how you might change it.

Please let me know if you have any questions, or if I can be of help in any way.

Your friend and coach,

Brian

P.S. If you know anyone who might benefit from this post, please share this with them. Also, if this was beneficial, please “Like” our page. Thank you.

Ways To Have Fun With Your Training Runs and A Special Offer To Help You Achieve Your Running Goals

June 23 pic 1 6 mile morning runHello Runners,

As I finished my second week of marathon-specific training this past week, I was thinking about the importance of making training enjoyable and different ways to do so. I will discuss several of these ways later in this email. However, before I do, I want to share with you a new coaching option I am offering runners to help them achieve their goals.

For this new coaching option, you will receive a customized training plan with workouts for the entire month. During the last week of each month, you and I will have a 15-20 minute coaching call to discuss your progress and address any questions or concerns you have regarding your training. I will then send you the next month’s workouts based on your progress and your running goals. During the month you will also have the opportunity to email me questions that you have.

To initiate the process, we would have a 30-minute free coaching consult to discuss your running goals, running history, current training, favorite workouts, and any current or past injuries. The first month of your training will include a 5k or 10k race, or similar time trial, based on what is most appropriate for your fitness level and running goals. The results from this race or time trial will be used in subsequent training. Each month you will receive a new training plan with workouts to help progress you towards achieving your goals based on your progress from the previous month.

The cost for this coaching option will be $59/month, which is a significant savings from the customized weekly coaching service that I offer ($159/month).

For questions, or to get started, either reply to this email, or email me at brian@denverrunningcoach.com

Now, back to the ways to make your training more enjoyable, which I will include in your customized training plans.

Immediate gratification

  • Training for a half- or full-marathon takes a lot of dedication and at a minimum you will be training for 4-5 months. So at times, it might be difficult to get excited about a goal that is months away, while you are struggling through individual training runs or other workouts. Therefore, you need to celebrate your small wins along the way, because as humans we are hardwired to seek out immediate gratification. So, set yourself up to receive immediate gratification for each of your workouts. Is it stress relief, a sense of accomplishment, the hit of endorphins that make you feel awesome! Whatever it is frame your training and workouts around this to better help you enjoy your training.

Celebrate the small wins

  • Also, celebrate the small wins you are achieving as your progress towards your ultimate goal, such as completing that first 10-miler, 20-miler, difficult speed workout, etc. Share this with your significant other, family, friends, etc. Let them know how awesome you are. You deserve it!

Do the workouts you enjoy

  • Most runners have favorite workouts they enjoy doing, so perform these periodically, to help you enjoy your training. One of my personal favorites are ladder workouts, such as performing 1-, 2-, 3-, 4-, 4-, 3-, 2-, 1-minute work bouts (commonly referred to as intervals) at a somewhat hard to hard pace.

Incorporate shorter races in your training

  • It can be helpful to incorporate some appropriate shorter races into your training. Being in a race/event atmosphere can help re-invigorate you and help bring more energy into your subsequent training. Plus, doing an event can help you see the progress you are making in your training, which certainly can be motivating!

Run in an area you enjoy

  • Do you have a favorite place that you enjoy running? Then, do at least some of your training runs there. This may require driving, so wake up a little earlier to get to your favorite running spot and enjoy it.

Vary your training routes

  • One of our most basic needs is the need for variety. So, satisfy this basic need by varying where you perform your training runs. This might include doing some runs on trails, if you perform most of your runs on the road, or mixing in a few hills, if you usually run on flat terrain. I love to explore new areas, and so I will incorporate this into my runs, especially my long runs.

Avoid what you don’t like

  • For me this is simple, I don’t like running on the treadmill, so I don’t. Yes, this means running in cold and rainy weather sometimes, but I have a much better time than on a treadmill. Also, I find the track to be boring, so I perform my speed work on roads and trails, even incorporating hills sometimes for variety.
  • So, avoid, or at least minimize running in areas, on surfaces, etc. that you don’t enjoy. Your training runs shouldn’t be a slog.

Consider what inspires you

  • I am always inspired by the natural beauty of Colorado. In fact, that was one of the primary reasons why I moved to Colorado about seven years ago. So, I choose running routes that will incorporate natural beauty in some way. This makes my runs more enjoyable and reminds me how grateful I am to be in Colorado and to be alive!

Have a strong enough and the Right Why for training

  • I always recommend runners think about their goals and reasons why it is important to achieve those goals. If you have goals that are meaningful to you, and you remind yourself of these on a daily basis, it makes it easier to put in the training necessary to achieve these goals.

You don’t need to do a bunch of 20-milers to be successful in the marathon

  • Your weekly long runs should not be a weekly “death march.” You don’t have to do a bunch of 20 mile runs to be successful in the marathon. I usually only do two when I’m training for a marathon, and instead perform shorter long runs which incorporate speed or hills. Again, I run in areas I enjoy which make the long runs more pleasurable.

Don’t need to “hit your paces” for every run

  • Yes, there are certain workouts in which attaining a certain pace for a portion of the run is important, but this shouldn’t be the case for all runs. In fact, on easy days I would recommend not monitoring your pace at all and just focusing on enjoying an easy pace run. For my weekly runs with my friend, Sam, I don’t even notice the pace until after the run, and often it’s about 2-3 minutes slower than my goal marathon pace.

Consider doing some of your easy runs with other runners

  • If you don’t normally train with others, it might make training more enjoyable to do a run on occasion with a friend or running group. Just make sure to run your own pace. Often running groups are social, so I would choose easy runs to do with these groups, so that you can keep the pace conversational. I know I really appreciate the easy runs I have with my friend every week.

Consider your training runs a gift

  • I strongly encourage you to frame your runs as a gift you give yourself and not something you feel you should do. Consider all the great benefits that you’ll get from your training runs, such as stress relief, a sense of accomplishment, more energy, inspiration, etc. If you perform your runs in the morning it is a great way to start the day!

So, have fun with your training and try a few of the recommendations I shared. If you found this to be helpful, please share this with anyone you feel might benefit.

Please let me know if you have any questions, or if I can be of help in any way.

Your friend and coach,

Brian

Have You Set Your Running Goals for 2017? If Not, Let’s Get Started!

I have a confession to make.  I am very much a goal-oriented person.  Sometimes this drives my wife nuts.  You may or may not be a goal-oriented person.  However, I feel that if there are things you want to accomplish in life, it’s important to clearly define what they are and make a plan to achieve these.  This includes what you want to accomplish with running.  We are creatures of habit and often times, left to our own devices, we can get stuck in patterns and routines and not do what’s necessary to achieve our goals.  It can be easy to “slack off” and the next thing we know, a year is passed and we are no closer to achieving what we want in life.

Therefore, I am challenging you, if you have not already done so, to sit down and clearly define your running goals for 2017.  In defining your goals, you should also identify why these goals are important to you and what impact they will have on you when you accomplish them.

Before establishing your running goals it is important to assess what time you will have available for training.  It certainly doesn’t make sense to set goals that won’t be attainable because we don’t have the proper amount of time to train for those goals.  Therefore, I strongly recommend assessing the time you would have available for training based on the other commitments and priorities you have in your life.  This would include time for family, significant other, work and/or school, friends, community, other hobbies/interests, and sleep.  Be honest with yourself and determine realistically the amount of time you will have available for training each week.  Is it ten hours? five hours? two hours?

You also need to consider your current fitness level.  Where are you starting at?

Depending on these considerations, what is possible?  I recommend setting goals for yourself that will challenge you and be a stretch.  However, these goals should be attainable, if you dedicated yourself to their achievement.  Set yourself up for success!

Next, you should consider any barriers, or obstacles, that might stand in your way of achieving your goals.  How will you overcome these when they come up?

What will these goals mean to you when you have accomplished them?  How will you celebrate?

Finally, post your goals somewhere where you can see them every day, such as on your refrigerator, bathroom mirror, etc.

In the next article, I will discuss one obstacle that might stand in your way of achieving your running goals for 2017 and how you might prevent it from doing so…

 

You may want to use the following to help you set your running goals for 2017:

 

I have the following commitments and they will require the following number of hours per week:

  1. Family
  2. Significant other
  3. Work and/or school
  4. Friends
  5. Community
  6. Other hobbies/interests
  7. Sleep!
  8. Others

 

Based on these I have the following amount of time available for training each week:

 

Based on the amount of time I have available for training and my current fitness level my running goals for 2017 are:

  1. Have fun!

 

Visualization (you may want to do this a couple of days per week for 30-60 seconds):

What will you see, hear, touch, smell, and feel when you accomplish your running goals? How will you celebrate when you achieve these goals?  Be as specific as possible.

 

 

 

What are the potential barriers/obstacles that could impact your training and potentially prevent you from achieving your running goals for 2017:

1.

2.

3.

4.

5.

 

What will it be like if you allow these potential barriers/obstacles to stand in your way of accomplishing your running goals:

 

 

What will you do to overcome these potential barriers/obstacles, so that you are successful in achieving your running goals for 2017:

1.

2.

3.

4.

5.

 

Please post your questions and comments below in the comment box.

Thanks!

Coach Brian