Setting yourself up for success

The days leading up to a new year are a time for reflection and planning. It’s good to reflect on your running over the past year – did you achieve the goals you made or did you fall short? Did you suffer from injuries or did you manage to tick all the boxes and do what you set out to achieve? Whatever the past year has held for you it’s time to put some serious thought into what you want to achieve in the year ahead and save yourself from repeating the mistakes of the past.

Whether you’re a new runner or an experienced runner setting out your goals is a great way to make sure you remain motivated throughout the year. Grab a diary and your local fun run calendar, select an event (or events) and make those your end goal and then work out what you need to do to get there. There are a range of running programs online for you to select to get you to the start and finish line – a google search is your best friend. Remember to be realistic in your event choices, make sure you have the time for training and the base kilometres behind you for whatever event you choose.

Find some friends or a running group to run with – make yourself accountable. You are far more likely to get up and run with you friends if you’ve told them you’ll be there than you will if you are doing runs on your own. Group runs can also be a great way to improve your running, giving you a range of paces. Look at engaging a running coach, working on your running style and building your efficiency as a runner is a great way to avoid injuries as well as seeing improvements in your times.

Look at your shoes, is it time for a new pair? Running in shoes that aren’t right for you or are worn is a recipe for disaster. Go to a reputable running store or podiatrist and get yourself fitted properly because the investment in shoes can be cheap compared to regular visits to health professionals when you become injured.

Finally always listen to your body, there is far more to be gained from skipping a run when there are aches and pains then pushing through. Runners should always look for complimentary exercises for other days. Beware the trap of thinking the more you run the better you will get, look at alternatives like cycling, swimming, yoga or pilates – they are all great ways of strengthening you as a runner. Perhaps consider your nutrition and fuelling as well, make sure you are giving your body everything it needs to perform – you wouldn’t expect your car to run on bad fuel so don’t do it to yourself.

Whether your hoping to achieve a new personal best or maybe go further than you ever have before taking the time to get things right at the start will set you on the right path and help you in achieving whatever goals you have.