How to Evaluate Last Race Season to Improve

Another element to evaluating last season is to figure out how many days of training you missed, as well as how many days of training had to be altered due to injury or sickness. While I wouldn't expect any serious runner to have a year without a couple days off due to sickness, there is no reason why athletes should miss months at a time due to injury. 

More: Prevent Running Injuries for Life

Injuries relate to training; when you're hurt, you have to go back and figure out what you did wrong in your training. This is where a coach is extremely valuable. He or she can help you figure out what you've done incorrectly in the past, and help you come up with a plan to stay healthy this upcoming season (in addition to helping you with a training plan that will lead to faster racing).

More: The Key to Overcoming Running Injuries

The final things that you should do when you look forward to the next season is to ask yourself, "What length of races do I like?" and "What types of workouts do I like?" I'm a strong believer that running is so challenging that you should only try to do a couple of new things each year. For instance, if you love the 5K and hated the two half marathons you ran, then maybe you should plan several 5Ks, working to run PRs this season. Then stretch out in distance to run a couple of serious 10Ks. 

More: 3 Ways for Advanced Runners to Achieve a PR

Or, if you love marathons but you're not getting any faster, you'd be well served to drop down to 10Ks and half marathons for the spring and summer, then go back to marathon training for a fall marathon.

More: How Does Half Marathon and Marathon Training Differ?

The same approach of doing what you like applies to workouts. If you love long runs, then try to do them even better this spring, either by increasing the distance a bit or by running them as progression long runs. Many people don't like the track, yet most good training plans have some work on the track assigned because tracks give you measured, consistent data. So whether it's repeat 400s for the 5K or Yasso 800s for the marathon, people who dislike the track should consider doing a few track sessions this spring.

More: How to Run Fast: 3 FAQs

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