In this Information Age of ours, we can quickly lose sight of the fact that the concept of running doesn’t have to be complicated. The very essence of our sport entails simply putting one foot in front of the other. Here are five quick tips for you to explore if you think your training and daily routines could benefit from a shot of simplicity.
1. Leave The Gadgets At Home At Least Once A Week
For some of us, GPS devices and MP3 players have their purpose. But they don’t have to come along with us all the time. As you plan out your training, pick one day in the week when you won’t bring anything electronic with you. A good day to do this would be a recovery day after a tough workout when you don’t need instant pacing feedback or some motivating song to get you through it. For that run, just plan on taking in the world around you. Don’t stress about pace and time. Enjoy yourself and relax.
2. Seek To Establish Routines In All Things
Make running a priority in your life and try to standardize as much as possible. If your work calendar fills up quickly, block out non-negotiable time in it for your runs. “Make a date” with yourself daily for your workouts. And in terms of preparing for your runs, the more you can follow a routine, the less you’ll have to worry. For example set up an easy system for washing and storing all your running clothes and gear so that you’re not constantly looking for what to wear in the darkness of your closet.
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3. Stick To A Straightforward Training Plan
As you prepare for your goal race, try to put together as simple a schedule as possible and don’t worry if you can’t follow it to a “T.” Plan out your week in terms of your “hard” efforts and the recovery days around them. How you gauge “hard” shouldn’t necessarily be tied to the biometric data that you can collect from a heart rate monitor or from the exact pace that you ran according to your GPS watch. Electronic devices can fail and you don’t want to create too much of a dependency on them. Run your “hard” days on a measured track or pathway with a basic stopwatch. For your recovery days, don’t fret about achieving a specific slower pace. Run as slow as you feel on those easier days, and consider selecting routes and locales that you’ve never run before as a way to relax and have fun.
4. Train As You Will Race
Let’s face it: even though races can be enjoyable experiences, they can also be stressful affairs — especially if you have your heart set on a specific goal. As such, the more you can be prepared come race day, the better. Some specific things include knowing as much as possible about the race’s course. What does the elevation profile look like? Where on it you expect to face your biggest challenges? What have others said or written about the race? Just as you plan for your training leading up to the race, so too should you plan for the event itself. Create a race-day plan. If possible, get out on the course beforehand or find a training route that mirrors the actual course.
5. Learn To Sometimes Let Go And Don’t Forget To Enjoy The Sport
Never forget why you are running in the first place. Qualifying for the Boston Marathon or running a new personal best are fantastic goals to hope for, but if the proverbial “road” was easy, if every workout was a cakewalk, if you ran every mile of all your tempos exactly as you planned, there wouldn’t be any purpose to it in the first place. It’s no cliché that running is all about the journey, not the destination. Don’t overanalyze your training. Sometimes things will come easy for you, sometimes they won’t. Sometimes your “easy” day will be hard for reasons unknown. Learn to let go and make peace with the fact that you’re human and that life can occasionally get in the way of your training. The thing that matters most is that you are still out there on the roads and trails.