Is this the year you'll run a half marathon? Are you aiming to break a personal time barrier in that spring 5K? Are you pursuing a Boston Marathon qualifying time? Whatever your running goals are this year, you can help boost your chances for success by following these five smart training goals.
This year, why not give yourself the extra incentive that running a big race offers? Signing up for an out-of-state marathon or a big-name race in your home state can take your motivation and your training to a whole new level. Races like New York, Chicago or Marine Corps marathons, the Boulder Bolder 10K, the Pikes Peak Ascent half and the Badwater Ultramarathon draw thousands of entrants and hundreds of thousands of spectators each year. Running in a race like that is a once-in-a-lifetime experience; you can bet your training will take on a focus previously unseen.
More: 2015 Winter Marathons
Set Short-Term Mileage Challenges
Performance improvement is directly related to quality training miles. A great way to increase mileage is to set up a weekly, monthly or annual goal.
Pledging to run 40 miles per week or 80 miles per month or 1,000 miles over the course of the year is a more effective strategy than simply telling yourself you're going to try to log more miles this year than last year. Up the ante by starting a group challenge on social media where members can keep track of each other's mileage.
You can tailor your mileage goal to your current ability level and overall race goals for the year. Maybe 80 miles per month is something you'll try to work up to by the end of summer, or maybe you're ready to shoot for that right now. Whatever the case, just be sure that those extra miles are part of a smart training plan. Simply increasing mileage won't guarantee that you'll run better, and it could lead to injury if your plan isn't implemented properly. It might be a good idea to work with a coach or train with a running club led by a few experienced runners. Your local running store is a good place to start.
Incorporating strength training into your routine can help correct postural deficiencies caused by poor sitting and standing habits that lead to incorrect running form and lower running efficiency. Correcting those deficiencies translates to a more upright running position and more symmetrical movement patterns from each side of the body.