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As years roll by, one truth emerges from all the headlines and trends: Success still depends on simple daily decisions. Do you want to become a better runner in 2020? Run more, and build habits that keep you healthy. It really is that simple (which doesn’t make it easy).
Over the past decade, we’ve seen the rise and fall of minimalism, revealing dramatically that “The Secret” isn’t about magic shoes—or lack thereof—nor about finding the perfect form. We’ve gone through fascination with ice baths, stretching techniques, massage methodologies and myriad food fads. We delved into HIIT, power lifting, max speed workouts and more magic shoes—now with bouncy soles and fiber plates. We’ve measured our every move, breath, heart beat and circadian rhythm.
Each trend has taught us more about ourselves and how to train—some more than others. But in the end, we continue to learn that what makes the most difference is putting in miles—even new research confirms this old idea—and supporting those miles by eating real food, getting quality sleep, and keeping our bodies moving naturally.
So, as I head into this new year—one in which I have some big goals—I’m focusing on simple steps. Mostly, my plan is to run often. How often? As often as I can, both making a daily hour’s run a priority in the midst of a chaotic schedule (like yours, I’m sure), and being opportunistic to grab extra runs whenever possible—a quick 30 minutes at lunch, a couple of mental shake-out miles before dinner, an extra 7 or 8 miles stolen by getting up an hour earlier on a weekend morning. I want to make even more true what my wife has long said of me, that “a run is always imminent.” I’m embracing junk miles.
To keep healthy despite more miles, I’m going to slow down to whatever pace my body tells me is appropriate that day, ignoring the judgmental pace of the watch. I’ll measure more metrics than ever, but keep them for post-run analysis. And I’m going to further embrace daily habits that help me continue to move freely and run tall, despite my mostly sedentary career.
None of this is sexy or all that inspiring. But I’ll get my inspiration from the results that I know, from years of experience, will come after weeks and months of consistently running more.
Like you, as my goal approaches, I’ll obsess over the timing and structure of specific workouts, the pace of my long runs, and what shoes to wear on race day—and here at PodiumRunner we’ll discuss current research and practice on all that and more throughout the year. But none of that frosting will matter much if I—and you—don’t bake the cake, starting now. Consider this your reminder of the key ingredients.
I wish for you what I wish for me in the coming months: Bold dreams, and the courage to take the simple, difficult, daily steps to make them come true.
—Jonathan Beverly, Editor