Coach Mike Mead

Mid-Year Running Review - June 2006

If you are a year-round runner, the end of June is the halfway point of the calendar year. Perhaps this is a good time of the year to review your training and racing to this point. If you’re like most runners, you may not feel you’ve gotten the most of your workouts or competitions. It’s not too late to make some adjustments to have you achieving your goals before the year is out.

One of the first questions to consider, “Is my training and racing goals attainable?” As I suggested in a previous article (January 2006), keeping a running log is crucial in analyzing your training. If you began to keep a log in January, you now have enough data to look back over your training and see if there is any tweaking you can do. For example, did you do enough base training? Have you been getting adequate sleep? Are you getting in the necessary speed sessions to prepare you for racing?

There are a ton of questions that can be answered by reviewing your running log. However, it might be best to have a coach or running expert to review your training log and give you feedback. Too many times, runners do not seek out proper advice. We tend to do a lot of self-diagnosis on ourselves only to end up confused, injured or both.

The one thing about distance training is being patient and consistent. I think that’s a frustration among many younger distance runners these days. They expect to see fast results, but developing distance talent takes an accumulation of many years of solid training. Young runners may see rapid improvement when starting out. However, to continue making progress takes smart training, patience and rest.

Part of your review should look into your training cycle. During the course of the year, you might go through two or three training and racing cycles. If you look back and see just one, you need to seriously regroup. A common mistake I see many road racers do is not plan out their racing schedule. They’ll just jump into any road race that comes along. Next thing you know, they’ve raced about every weekend in the year with no solid improvements.

A wise schedule would be similar to a high school distance runner. Use the summer to train for a fall racing season. Then use the winter to train for a spring racing schedule. During the training periods you can throw in a low-key race here and there to check your training progress.

Your training schedule should also have some rest time factored in. If you follow the high school runner’s schedule, there is usually some downtime after the fall and spring racing seasons. You need to have some time away from the grind of training, even if it’s just a few days after each cycle. Just don’t go to the other extreme and take too much time off!

Finally, consider if your training and racing goals are realistic. Maybe you do not have the time to put in the miles necessary to achieve your racing times. If you never broke six minutes in the mile, how do you expect to run five minutes? If you have a plan, then go for it! But if it’s a pipe dream goal, maybe you need to reconsider. But by all means, have a concrete goal and post it where you can see it on a daily basis.

If you spend some time now re-evaluating your training and make the needed changes, you should see positive changes before the year is out. Good luck!