Running resolutions

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A couple of years ago, I stopped calling them New Year Resolutions and started calling them Next Year's Objectives and, do you know. I've found this to be a far more effective strategy? This strategy was initiated by one of my training partners who, explained to me on our annual New Year's Eve run, that New Year's Resolutions have a negative feel as they are all about giving things up and not doing things, whereas objectives are about setting yourself things to do and targets to reach. Looking back now, I would say that this positive twist on New Year's Resolutions has helped me to achieve the goals I have set over the last couple of years. This is how the strategy works:

The first thing to do is to reflect and evaluate on what has gone right and wrong over the last year. You could categorise your thoughts into the sections we use in Training and Advice on this website. For each one you could consider whether you need to change anything and when you need to do it by. For example:

Training component Strength Weakness Target/Objective Time frame
Endurance (runfurther) Aerobic base is good and I enjoy long runs. The only thing that sometimes spoils it is regularly developing a black toe nail (see injury prevention!) Maintain long run at 90 - 120 minutes every other Sunday. Throughout the year.
Speed (runfaster) Track work! Speed over uneven terrain or where rhythm is broken. Get 5k time down (see races), do some speedwork off road over uneven terrain, slaloming through trees etc.

3k - February.

5k - May.


Strength (runstronger) Circuit training! Hill work! Include more plyometrics in programme to improve power. This may make me stronger on the hills? Build from here to April.
Technique and flexibility (runsmoother) Posture, running tall. Flexibility! Include regular stretching session every week. Thoughout the year.
Psychology (runsmarter) Enjoyment of running off road in daylight. Motivation to get out on cold, dark, winter evenings. Target races and keep a training log.

5k - summer.

10k - autumn.

Injury and illness prevention (runrobustly) Healthy diet. Need an extra half a size in my running shoes! Buy new shoes half a size bigger and get used to them. Now.
Safety (runsafer) Running with other people. Pushing my luck with daylight - sometimes being out too long. Plan training in more detail and involve others. Now.
Competition (races) Regular parkruns Avoiding other competition. Set schedules with specific sessions for target races and reduce handicap score by 4.

3k- Armagh

5k - Christleton

10k - Leeds

Once the evaluation and loose planning is done it's time to put more detail into the training plans. For more advice and ideas on this, check out the schedules in the runfurther and runfaster sections of the website. For a more bespoke schedule, consult our Training Wizard. He will give you a weekly programme depending on what you want to do, how you want to do it, how you are feeling and what's going on in the rest of your life.

You will need to consult him on a weekly basis.

Your event and target will probably stay the same for several weeks but your focus may change as you get closer to your target and your training load may change on a weekly basis.

Open this link in another window to find the Training Wizard and then follow these four simple steps:

1. Simply tell the Wizard whether you want to:

  • Run a marathon
  • Run a half marathon
  • Run 10k
  • Run 5k
  • Run a mile
  • Start running

2. Your target time

3. Your training focus for the week

  • Build aerobic base - if you are starting from a low fitness level
  • Build strength-endurance - if you want to increase the distance of your training runs or get better at running on courses that provide resistance (hills, soft surfaces etc.)
  • Build speed-endurance - if you want to run the distance faster to hit your target time
  • Improve running economy - if your running technique could be better

4. Whether you want an easy, moderate or hard week

The Wizard will then set you a bespoke programme for the week. All you have to do is follow the instructions and you will be raring to go! Don't forget that you have to ask for a new plan on a weekly basis as the Training Wizard assumes you will vary the training load each week between hard, moderate and easy.

For more advice on how to develop endurance, speed and strength visit our Training Zone

Good Luck with executing your plan and achieving your 2014 objectives. By this time next year, what will you be saying that you achieved in 2014? The choice is yours!