SET THE RIGHT GOAL
Declutter your training diary and target a new goal based on what gives you the most satisfaction
When you read about the benefits of long runs, tempo runs, hill training, crosstraining, postrun strides and so on (and on...) it’s easy to feel overwhelmed by everything you think you should accomplish. If your quest to fit it all in is sapping your running mojo, it’s time to declutter your schedule.
Organisation maven Marie Kondo, whose books include Thelife-changing magic of Tidyingup (Vermilion), believes happiness comes from letting go of things you store out of obligation, and keeping your favourites. Her ideas can help runners trim the ‘should-dos and focus on what gives them satisfaction’, says ultra runner and coach Art Ives. And that can revive flagging motivation.
The best way to set a goal can be to identify the type of running that lights up your day and then let that dictate your target, says coach Larry Blaylock. Use this guide to choose your next goal and organise your training according to the type of running that brings you joy.
YOU LOVE THE BURN OF TEMPO PACE YOUR GOAL A FAST 10- MILER
Tempo runs – which should include at least 20 minutes of running at a comfortably hard pace – appeal to runners who love to push themselves. Tempo workouts raise your fatigue threshold – letting you run faster and over longer distances without tiring. That’s key for a strong 10-miler, which requires both speed and endurance. Start week one with one 20-minute tempo session (with a warm-up and cool-down of five-to-10 minutes), and vary the duration of the tempo phase (up to 40 mins) in subsequent weeks.
YOU LOVE RUNNING WITH OTHER PEOPLE YOUR GOAL A FULL DIARY
Chatty runs are great for developing base aerobic fitness, says Blaylock. But running buddies can also propel you through hard workouts. Join friends for hills or intervals: if they’re slower, you can up their game; if they’re faster, you can chase them. If you’re chasing, take easy days before and after. Widen your run-social circle, too: join a club run each week.
YOU LOVE JUST RUNNING YOUR GOAL TO RUN HEALTHY
You don't have to race to enjoy the physical and mental benefits of running, but you do need to avoid injury-enforced time out. Aim for at least 90 minutes per week of running at your ‘happy pace’. To stay injuryfree, do two weekly 15-minute strength-training sessions. Target your core muscles (with moves such as planks and side planks), along with some lower leg and glute work (such as squats and lunges).
YOU LOVE GOING LONG YOUR GOAL TO RACE FURTHER
‘I love running longer, because you work so much stress out,’ says Blaylock. Plus, long runs change your perception of limitations. ‘There’s a second energy that you get in the later stages,’ says Ives. Blaylock recommends choosing a race up to 60 per cent longer than you’ve ever gone before – whether that’s a 10K or a 100K. Training for a 10K takes eight weeks; prerequisites for an ultra include several marathon finishes and 21-24 weeks of training.