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Best Running Tips Newsletter, Issue #025 -- Your Own Individual Running Program


January 20, 2011

Although it is a bit late, let me start off by wishing you a good 2011. I have just returned from a refreshing, wonderful holiday in beautiful New Zealand and have only just really started to get back into the swing of things.

During our holiday we were blessed with (mostly) beautiful weather. Running was put on the back-burner, although I did manage to get out there about three times a week for short runs.

The toughest running I did was in Dunedin, the 'Edinburgh of the South'. It is very hilly in Dunedin. It is home to the world's steepest street, so you can imagine what the circumstances were like.

The elevation chart on my Garmin 405cx showed that there was a height difference of 100+ metres between the highest and the lowest point of my runs. And most of that height difference was covered over very short parts of the course.

It was undoable to run at a steady pace. It was anything from 3-4 min / km downhill to 6-8 min / km uphill, depending on the slope and the length of the hill. Never a dull moment there!

The beginning of a New Year is always a good moment to think about new goals and plans. And that goes for every area in your life, whether you are looking at your business, your work, your family, finances or your running.

When planning running goals I find it very helpful to first establish why I am running. Think about it for a while. Is it because you need to lose weight? Is it just to keep healthy? Why do you run?

Whether you are in it for weight loss, for your health or because you have got something to prove to the world, it is a good idea to choose some key races for the year ahead.

Running just for the running training alone is great if you can keep it going. But a good motivator to push yourself along and to make sure you keep up the training is to pick some running races you are actually going to participate in.

Suppose you want to run a marathon by the end of the year (October/November). When you have got a whole year of training ahead of you just for one race, it will get hard to keep the motivation going. Make sure you choose 2-4 key events that you want to participate in.

This breaks up your schedule and helps to keep your focus on a goal that is closer by. Maybe do something like a 5k/10k run in March, a half marathon in June and then your marathon in October / November. A mix of shorter and longer events is a good idea as it will allow you to train both your speed and your aerobic ability.

You can plan to run more races if you like, but I would advise that you put your training focus on less rather than more. You can't set your training up properly to peak ten times a year. You can set it up such that you are optimally prepared for 2-4 events. Use the other races as 'tests in between' or 'dress rehearsals'.

Once you know which races are going to be your main events, you need to choose your running program. Now, there are many different running programs available on the net. Some quite good, some not. Many of them are not quite specific enough for your own individual needs. They assume that you have never run before. Or they assume that you have been a runner for all your life. It's hard to find that absolutely right program for you. Hold that thought. More on that below.


My Goals for the Year
===============
So, what are my goals for the year? Well, first of all I am going to try to stay injury-free. I got a knee injury last year. Not due to running, I was doing some heavy lifting and hurt it real bad when I climbed onto a bench. It really ruined my running last year, so first goal is to try stay injury-free. I run to stay healthy and want to keep it that way, so staying injury-free is key.

I am at a lower base of fitness now due to the long time of no running. So it will be a challenge to build up slowly. In order to not get into heavy, heavy training immediately I plan to run a 15k race in April and then a half marathon in July.

Following that I will evaluate my performance and how I feel. If there is some hesitation I will most likely go for another half marathon in October. If I am in real great condition then I will aim for a marathon in October.

For best-running-tips.com I have got some exciting plans as well. As you may know the site has been a labour of love for me for the last 5 1/2 years. It's been growing really well.

January is traditionally a strong month with many new runners getting interested in some running tips, and there have been days this month where the site got very close to 5,000 unique visitors on a single day. For what started as a little hobby site, that's not all that bad. Runner's World, be prepared, here I come... :)

My main plans for best-running-tips.com are to:

* Launch a coaching service.

* Start allowing other website owners to share their articles on my site.

* Start a forum/social network capability.


Exciting times ahead. Of course I will keep you updated via this newsletter.

We will kick off these new plans and ideas with the launch of a coaching service within the next fortnight. Now, if you have got difficulties with finding the right running program for you, soon I'll be able to help you.

The service will offer an assessment of your current situation and aims to work out your strengths and weaknesses. Based on that you will get a personalised running program which aims to get you to top performance in your next key race.

It will be exciting and it will offer us the ability to work one-on-one on your running goals.

Preparations are under way. As soon as I am ready I will send you a note.


Running Training Helpline
=================
During my holidays the Running Training Helpline got inundated with questions. I am working through them as we speak. If you have left me a question and have not received an answer yet, then rest assured I am working on it.

Please keep in mind that I love answering these questions, but that I usually delete one-line questions. Questions like "What should I eat?", "What should I wear when I run", "How fast can I run a 5k?" and "Can I complete a 1.5k within 10 minutes with an injury?" get deleted. These questions just provoke equally short responses from me (i.e. "Nothing", "Nothing", "Pretty slow probably", "Tell him he's dreaming." respectively).

When you want a useful answer, please provide more information about yourself, i.e. how often you train, times in recent races, your running background, etc. The more relevant information you provide, the more help I can give you.

Ok, that's it for now.
If you haven't done so already, start thinking about those key races.

And keep your eyes on your inbox. Within the next two weeks I will send you another note, announcing the opening of my coaching service. Best Running Tips Newsletter subscribers get first dibs. There will be limited spots available, so if you are interested, make sure you get in fast.

Talk to you soon.
In the meantime, come visit my site often and happy running!


Dominique

Best Running Tips

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