So it's 2013 and you are either a runner getting back to the training grind or a new or aspiring runner, wondering how the heck you're going to get ready for your next race/run. The new year brings new hope and a fresh slate to begin your journey. Whether you are new or returning, it is imperative to make sure you don't jump into things too quickly. I base this statement on experience. I remember when I first began training seriously for my runs, getting ready for my first ultra marathon. I remember it clearly, the first 2 months……it entailed a week with an ankle injury, to a week with a knee injury, to a week of extreme tightness in the hips, and in between them all was unwanted rest time. The mileage was too high, too fast and I realized that pretty quickly. The result, mandatory weeks off for the first couple of months due to overtraining and impatience.
As a running coach and runner myself, I strongly believe patience is the hardest piece of your training regimen to really hone in on. It takes time and, yeah you guessed it, patience. I have clients who I have to hold back, to ensure they don't get injured or discouraged from too much too fast. It's hard when you're feeling great on an easy run day, to hold yourself back and not go all out. There is a very good reason for that. An "easy" run or even your recovery runs, are there for a reason. Your body just cannot go all out every run, and if you attempt to do so, your running career will be cut drastically short or even worse, ended. Many if not all of the greatest runners, both short & long distance, have put years of work and slow building into getting to where they are today. Running, though simplistic it its form & process, is a slow process towards improvement. You have your entire life to run, there is no need to get every race in this year.
My advice, as a coach, is pick and choose those couple of "big" races for the year. Pick the races you want to make your strong showings, the ones that you put all the training towards. Once you have that figured out, you can inject smaller races geared towards preparing for those big runs. My advice, as a runner, invest in cosulting with a running coach. I not only coach my clients but also have a running coach for my personal programming. I have three reasons for this, one, I spend a lot of my time focusing on preparing my clients for their races and runs that I hardly have time to focus on my own and two, an outside coach can see things I may not. A second set of eyes and a second brain to bounce ideas off of, is very important. The final reason is a little embarassing, but truth be told, very legit. My running coach keeps me on top of those things that are necessary during training cycles, like stretching and rest days. Those things that frankly, I don't want to do. Again, unless you want to succumb to injury before you reach your prime, you MUST stretch & give your body time to recover.
Melissa is a certified running coach in Las Vegas, NV and is currently pursuing her first 50 mile run in April 2013. She is a personal trainer as well as a motivating factor in her client's lives. She will be leading the Desert Running Group in Las Vegas with the help of her boyfriend and fellow running coach Jeremy Wallace, Owner of ProjectOne Fitness. Desert Running Group will be beginning in February 2013.