Yet another year has passed. It’s time to look back and to look ahead. When it comes to running, there are a lot of challenges to be mastered in order to be able to conduct our passion healthily and successfully on a long term basis. I would like to introduce to you the five points that lead to problems the most frequently, so that you can avoid the latter in 2016, in case you are affected.
1. The off season produces the champions
The off season is the time for base work. A lot of runners miss to train variedly in these months and to work on their weaknesses. Laying the foundations on the one hand means training primarily in the area of 70-90% of your maximum. During this period, a lot of your running can easily be replaced with cross-country skiing, biking or spinning, swimming, ski touring, ice skating etc. On the other hand, you should work on your muscular stability. Take yoga classes or join group trainings with TRX or some other varied muscular training. This provides new stimuli for your body and you will be able to start your season on a next level.
2. Stay ambitious, but don’t forget to enjoy
Set yourself clear goals that are achievable, motivating and that you are looking forward to already. However, always keep in mind: you are doing it for yourself! Don’t put pressure on yourself, because if you do, the “good” in running, can turn into something negative. Running should assist your relaxation and it should always be enjoyable. If you realise that it has been a burden rather than a relief for a longer period of time, you should think about adjusting your goal. The circumstances in your life can change so quickly. If in doubt, you should adapt your running goals accordingly.
3. Find the right balance
Running is a great settlement and it is ideal to realise your individual dreams and aspirations. It’s good for your health and it revitalises your body and mind. However, remember that it is only positive in an adequate measure. A “too much” can cause your system to break down. Too intense or excessive training can weaken your immune system, it can increase risk of injury or it can simply exhaust you. Try to live consciously and to rather take a step back if close to the limit. A healthy balance between stress and relaxation will get you the furthest.
4. Running is easier with an appropriately nourished body
The basis for healthy running and life is a balanced nutrition. Remember: Follow your intuition instead of some fixed nutrition guidelines. Try to eat as natural and varied food as possible. Plan your eating, as it gives you a structure and something to hold on to. Fresh foods should form the basis of your nutrition. In the context of sports it is important to know what is good for you. Especially for long runs and long competitions such as marathons, plan exactly how to manage your nutrition on the way. That way, you can avoid a lot of problems such as deteriorating performance or cramps.
5. Plan your running year
Many runners miss to be on top of their performance at the highlight of the season, because they train or compete too much beforehand. Although running.COACH helps you to plan recovery phases, the rough structure you prepare for yourself. Normally, you should plan one or maximum two highlights for a season, after the first of which you should do a running phase of about 2-4 weeks. In addition to those two highlights, you can do preparatory races. However, do not expect to perform at your best in those. So, take your planner, write down when you are doing what and figure out whether this will be compatible with everything else happening in your life. Don’t forget to plan recovery phases, too.
This blog was written by Ingalena Heuck, sports scientist, former German Champion in half marathon and running.COACH Gold Coach.
This post is also available in DE.