Running in the New Year

I don’t make New Year’s resolutions.

Well, once upon a time I did, but I’m sure that every one of them was broken (or at least badly sprained) within a few weeks, if not by January 3. So, now I use the arrival of the new year to evaluate how well or how poorly I managed to do things over the preceding twelve months, and also to think about how I might try to improve on those things in the coming months. Not as dramatic as making resolutions perhaps, but it does avoid the guiltly feelings of failing to keep yet another resolution.

Needless to say, a new running program is one of those things that would be worth a year-end review. Now that we’re seven weeks into the marathon training schedule, and a new year is upon us, this would be a good time to evaluate how well you’ve been doing up to this point.

First of all, have you been able to keep to the schedule that you set for yourself a couple of months back? If not, then you should ask yourself why not.

Certainly even a highly dedicated runner would be entitled to a couple of “snow days,” given the weather the upper Midwest has experienced this December (“blizzard days” might be a better term for what we’ve been through), so take that factor into account.

If you’ve had an overuse injury or muscle soreness that can come with a new training regimen, that’s also a legitimate reason for getting off the original plan.

On the other hand, if failure to stick to your schedule is more attributable to inertia (a nice word for being lazy) or persistent conflicts with your other obligations or interests, take this time to think about the days and the times that you had planned to run. Would it make sense to alter your tentative schedule, to run at other times or on other days?

If you have been faithful to your training schedule up to now, that’s great! Now consider another question: Will your present arrangement of days and times for training runs permit the necessary expansion of allotted time to accommodate significantly longer runs?

happy new year run If you look at the marathon training schedule, you’ll see that beginning with Week 9--next week is another Restorative Week--the nature of the training shifts significantly. The total mileage doesn’t increase, but each week calls for a long run (initially, 8 to 9 miles) and a moderately long run (initially, 6 miles). If the time slots you’ve set aside for your present training runs won’t permit runs of such distances, then it’s time to look at your day planner and figure out when you can fit them in. Keep in mind that eventually the long runs will require as much as three hours, and the moderately long runs about ninety minutes.

Most runners find that either Saturday or Sunday mornings will work for the long run, but it’s more difficult to carve out the time during the week to do a run of 10 miles or more. This second run is the one that requires a fair bit of sacrifice and will power to stick with, and it’s often one for which it’s hard to find a training partner.

After you’ve identified when you can do the necessary longer runs, maybe a New Year’s resolution wouldn’t be such a bad idea after all!

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