Coach Mike Mead

January 2013

New Year, New You?

Another calendar year draws to a close and a new one has arrived! At this time of year, folks reflect on the past 12 months and look forward to the next 12 months with optimism. No matter how bad last year was, this year is going to be better!

We runners tend to do the same type of review and evaluate our gains and shortfalls with our training and racing. Whether we do it on an annual basis or after a particular training/racing period, our tendencies have a positive outlook.

For me, 2012 was a good year, though my training and so-called racing took a backseat to my real world. Despite being a college cross country and track coach, my personal training and racing goes to the backburner when I’m in-season which is about nine months out of the year.

In the college world, January marks the serious start to indoor track, then moving outdoors in March until the season wraps up in May. Then my time comes with a couple of months of summer training and (hopefully) racing until the start of the cross country season in mid-August.

As we enter a new year, I believe you will find it helpful to reflect on your training and set short-term and long-term goals for your racing year. If you’re like some runners, you may be racing year-round. However, if you have been experiencing plateaus in your racing or feel flat in your training, perhaps it’s time to make adjustments.

You may be like some runners who do not have a training plan or have set goals. I’ve been like that the past couple of years. No goals or plans; just get out and run when I can and try not slowing down any more than I have already done!

However, if you take that approach, you will not see many gains and your training and racing will be very inconsistent. Heck, you may even lose your motivation and stop running altogether!

At the start of the New Year, many folks make resolutions. Unfortunately, many of these resolutions last the first week. It’s been typical to see plenty of TV ads for weight-loss programs and health clubs to market a “new you” for a new year.

Most people fail with their resolutions because of three things; they did not have a goal plan, they were not committed to succeed, and they did not have a support network.

You have to have goals and to attain those goals you have to have a plan. You cannot blindly go out and try to run, say an 18-minute 5K, if you have never run a mile faster than seven minutes. You need a training plan just as a builder needs a blueprint to build a house.

You have to be committed to succeed. Too many times, there are good intentions, but when it becomes challenging or inconvenient, success becomes limited. The secret to success is sacrifice. For you to become a better runner, you may need to give up a cozy morning in bed for a run in a cold rain, or you may have to end a fun evening early with friends for that tough workout the next day.

Finally, to have a successful resolution, you need to surround yourself with a support network of people you share your aspirations and goals. If you want to become a faster runner, you will not succeed running with turtles.

If you are resolving to become a better runner, determine what that “better” is for you this coming year, then set goals, understand the keys to succeed, and surround yourself with like-minded people. I hope that six months from now you will still be living your resolution rather than dream of what might have been.

Happy New Year!