For most of us running is a secondary pastime in our lives and although important is usually below family and working in the pecking order that time and energy is devoted to. At times these factors or potentially other interests take up time that you’d like to devote to improving your running performance.
This can be especially magnified when you have chosen to prepare for a marathon or other goal races through the season. As most seasoned runners know preparing for the seasons races motivated and having a planned outline of your training runs is beneficial and usually vital to prepare in the best way.
But what do you do if you can’t complete the runs as planned and often miss runs due to life getting in the way. Usually the best way to improve your running is to run more, but if you can’t run there are still ways to get to the start line ready to race.
1. Focus on the key workouts
Your key workouts each week are those runs that build strength, endurance and speed. When you have limitations on your time first complete the runs that build aerobic endurance, being your medium to long aerobic runs. Secondly strength is important to get your through the later stages of a marathon, run hill repeats or make sure your aerobic runs are over a undulating terrain. Intervals build speed, focus on these as the third piece of the puzzle.
Focussing your training time around your key workouts will give you the best chance at success on race day if training time becomes the enemy.
If time is limited then focus on building endurance, strength and speed in that order. Make sure you give your time for recovery by not running hard sessions on consecutive days.
2. Adjust your expectations
There is more to running marathons then setting personal best times. Sometimes the best runs are those that you reach your potential at this current time.
Most marathoners know that in order to get the best result you need to put in the work and race well on the day. If you haven’t put in the work for whatever reason, adjusting your expectations and giving your best effort for the current fitness shape you are in will certainly make the race more enjoyable. Marathons are hard enough when you are well prepared, when you aren’t well prepared the last 10-15km of the marathon can be a very lonely and painful place.
Maybe this next race isn’t the time to aim for your personal best and you can learn more about race pacing when you get through a race running well not in peak fitness. Next time you choose to run a race you may be better positioned to complete the training and run a personal best.
3. Stay motivated
It is easy to let a poor training block affect your motivation. This can magnify the problem if you miss more runs through not wanting to get out the door. Stay motivated by looking at the big picture, the season is long and when you get the opportunity to train make the most of it.
Focus on the runs you enjoy and why you want to go running in the first place. Adjusting your racing expectations can also be transferred to training expectations as well. Adjust the sessions that you plan, you may not be able to hit the splits in training that you are used to but it doesn’t really matter.
When you lack motivation try and stay committed and focussed and the running will take care of itself. No runner have ever regretted going for a run, so get out and go running and it’ll likely spark your motivation.
Running is a simple sport and like life itself the more you put into it the more you get out of it. However there are still ways to gain a lot out of it when things don’t go to plan in training.