Since we’ve just crossed the new year I thought I’d address the whole ‘resolutions’ thing.It’s obviously good to have goals, to know what direction you’re heading and to plan how to get there! Meandering through the year aimlessly doesn’t lend well to optimal performance. For some people goal setting only occurs to them at this time of year, then very quickly is put to the back of the mind to be ignored for another 12 months, whilst goals aren’t achieved and/or injuries are sustained..
We are all of different abilities, have different goals, different schedules and allocated time for training, so I don’t ever suggest a ‘cookie cutter’, one size fits all type program. Instead my approach in guiding you is to educate you on principles to use to create your own programs.Now this topic is quite large so I’m going to start by speaking about the initial goal selection and big picture, long term planning. In future posts I’ll get more into the finer details and shorter term stuff, weekly, daily side of things.
SELF ASSESSMENTHonestly asses your capabilities, currently, not what you could do 25 years ago, not what was achieved 2 seasons ago before you sustained that ACL injury, not what you dreamt of last night. Honest assessment is important! So you’re still on the couch, you’re regularly able to run 10-20km a couple times per week and recover within 24-48 hours or maybe you have your 1st marathon under belt, it was hard, minor niggles but otherwise came out the other end fairly unscathed.
Now you know where you are, you can start to decide what goals you want to work towards eg; 1st 5km, regularly running 3x per week all year long (not skipping weeks at a time), 1st half Marathon, 1st Ultra marathon, Running 2km straight without that knee blowing up… All goals are worthy as long as they relate to you.Myself as an example: I’m naturally a sprinter however my goals are now long distance related – in the previous 12 month goal block I achieved 3x 50ish km events (not running amazingly fast but getting to the end in relatively one piece), so this coming season my goals are for the Collie and Pemby Trail Fests to accumulate more kms in those weekends – Fri night 7km, Sat Ultra, Sun 10km! Goals selected
How long should you give yourself to achieve your goal/s? (you may only be thinking about 1 single goal of 10km without walking and anything more than that seems too much at the moment or you may be thinking 1st marathon, 2nd marathon in better time, followed by the Pemby Ultra..) Now, hard was it to get where you are now will guide you on how hard it’ll probably be to get to your goals and how long you should allow (this may need to be a little flexible, like plan A=3 months, B=4 months and C=6 months in case your estimated timeline isn’t realistic).Myself as an example: 4 years running, 1st couple were building from 3-21km regularly, focussed on pace. The last couple years was building from half – 50km ultra, adding distance feels hard and a long process for me, plus through the process I’ve sustained a few injuries, which needs to be taken into account even though I’ve recovered from them.. With prior/continued conditioning I felt 4-6months to build to running reasonably well over the Collie Trail Fest w-end without injury is possible. Timeline selected
THE YEAR IN SEASONS
If all year we meander along it’s unlikely to be kicking goals, on the other hand if the whole year is pushing crazy intensity training, acting like every session has to achieve P.B’s (personal bests) we’re more at risk of injury. So how we avoid that is by planning ahead so smaller goals lead to bigger ones, with ample time to build strength, endurance, skills and be in peak performance for our challenges/events. Then we must take the time to recover, reassess and continue building for the next goal. This is like footy players: pre-season building strength then shifting focus to skills, peaking throughout the game season towards finals, then off season to recover.Myself as an example: last year from pushing my limits a long hammy tear set me back a little, so last year was rebuilding strength, especially going hard at it for 4 months over winter. I’m currently transitioning into developing good running legs whilst maintaining strength base in preparation for Collie in March, recover for my own training goal of 60km for ANZAC day, recover. Then focus on the next distance goal… I’m always revisiting this process of assessment, goal setting and planning, whilst doing the regular work of course, not just planning! Constantly reassessing yourself allows for realistic goals and appropriate training plans. Goals aren’t ticked off easily without putting in the hard work, however you get a little boost in the right direction with good planning, ‘winging it’ will make it harder for you. (side note, the greater knowledge, conditioning and connectedness you have to you body the better you can go by feel, a little less regimented… That’s another topic for another day).So please over the next few weeks go through this process yourselves, choose some goals and timeline by picking actual events or setting dates to achieve your goals in training. I’ll put up some exercise posts, breathing posts and will return to this topic with more in depth info.
Train hard, train smart