- Write down your goals. Even if it is only one, it will help you realize what you need to do to accomplish those goals. It could be that you want to finish a half-marathon, that you want to run 50 miles a week, or that you want to better your mile time. Whatever it is, you are more likely to reach your goal if it is written down. Its helpful if it is posted somewhere that you’ll see it a lot so you are reminded of what it is you are working towards. The fridge would be a great place to post it.
- Log your runs. Write down your mileage and how you felt during your run. This way you will be able to figure out what you like and what you don’t, and if your training is on the right track. It can help you figure out when you like to run and what kind of trails.
- Change it up. Find new places to run around you! Be sure to check out the Trail of the Week and feel free to comment new trail ideas. It isn’t any fun to run the same route or the same amount of time. One day you could go for a quick paced 30 minute run at Pismo Beach and the next day you can go for an hour long slower paced run from your house. Make sure to check the Trail of the Week.
- Focus on the positive. On long runs it is easy to start thinking about how much it hurts and how much you want to slow down or stop. What works is to focus on every single thing that feels good. Even if your knees are hurting during your run, think about how great your arms feel, how your stomach isn’t too full or too empty, and how strong your legs feel. Go over a complete list in your head about everything that is feeling great and it could make your run a little more enjoyable.
- Consistency. When I ask runners what piece of advice they would give somebody that was thinking about getting into the sport, one word always comes up: consistency. It is more beneficial for your body to run one mile six days a week instead of 6 miles one day a week. What I remember is that if you miss a training day, your competition is getting stronger. Also if you are running once a day, it is easier to increase milage when it becomes a habit to run. I like Nike’s quote, “If you went running when you first started thinking about it, you’d be back by now.” Set aside your running time for the day, and each run go for a minute longer or go a little faster, this way you will become a better runner each day.
- Listen to your body. If something is hurting, take care of it. If you keep running even if you are injured you are only hurting yourself. It isn’t necessary to feel guilty if you miss a day or if you have to go on a shorter run; as long as you are doing what is best for you.
- Find people with the same passion. Running can be much more enjoyable if you have a group to train with. It takes your mind off of what hurts and you can also find new routes that others like to run. It is the best when you find one person or a group who really pushes you. I have a friend who always negative splits on the second half of the run, she always pushes me make the pace faster and finish strong. Here are a few running groups in our area: San Luis Distance Club, Running Grrrl, Lampoc Valley Distance Club, Central Coast Runners, and the Cal Poly Distance Club.
I hope these seven secrets will help you on your path to becoming a greater runner.