1. It’s all about motivation
To get motivated it’s important to set goals, to stay motivated it’s important to make these goals realistic and to set short-term as well as long-term goals.
It’s also important to choose goals that fit your abilities and interest (Don’t train on speed if actually all you really want is to run an x-amount of miles, it won’t motivate you a bit).
Tip: Keep a training journal to log your distance and speed and add some info about how you were feeling that day or make a running schedule and keep it somewhere in sight.
2. Don’t overdo it
By now we all know that rest days are the most important days in our training schedule but Dagny Scott also talks about ‘minimal training for maximal results’. Following a schedule that’s best for you doesn’t necessarily imply running as much miles as you can cram in your week .
The schedule that’s best for you is a personal thing, it’s the schedule that allows you to run enough miles and have enough training days to get fit and improve but that also allows you to still feel energetic and strong.
Make a balance of what you’re putting into your training and what you’re getting in return. Don’t be embarrassed to make your training less hard or to settle on fewer miles.
3. Mental aspects of running
Dissociation (thinking of other stuff while running to divert your mind from pain, tiredness etc) is only beneficial in lighter trainings. As soon as you’re running further or faster you’ll need your mind to help you to keep going, you need to concentrate to keep your pace. Having a positive attitude will help you a lot to push yourself.
Tip: Practice on keeping positive and on motivating yourself on lighter training days, that way you’ll be able to use this when you really need it on harder training days.
4. Every training has at least one success
There are a lot of negative things you can come up with when thinking about your training (not fast enough, not long enough, already out of breath after 5 minutes,…), but isn’t it more fun to focus on positive stuff. Positive things happen as well, maybe they’re just little things, like going for a run instead of staying in bed like you’d rather done.
Tip: If you’re not feeling like running at all, focus on the beginning of your training instead of the whole training. Often the ‘going outside and start to run’ part is the hardest, after that you just fall in to an automatism. At least try to go out and try to run, but also be kind to yourself, if you’re still not feeling it after 10 minutes maybe you should just take a rest day or do some cross training instead, at least you tried (each training has at least one success!).
5. Take care of your body
We all know about stretching and warming up/cooling down but the scheme on starting to train again after injuries in this book was really useful:
no running for 1 week = start training at distance you’ve reached before injury
no running for 2 weeks = start training at 1/2 distance you’ve reached before injury
no running for 3 weeks = start training at 1/4 distance you’ve reached before injury
no running for 4 weeks = restart training!
and don’t forget: increase your distance for 10% per week, maximum!
6. Run safely
- Follow your intuition, if your gut tells you something isn’t quite right, chances are it isn’t quite right!
- Feel confident, look confident (and always bring your phone with you!)
- Don’t run the same route on the same days, change things up
- Let someone know where you’re at, or make sure to write your route in your training journal